By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
This last weekend I ventured back to my native land to attend the wedding of my oldest friend. Not oldest in the sense that she?s old, but rather that I?ve been friends with her the longest. Our parents were friends before we were born and she entered the world only three weeks before I did.
I?ve been to friends? weddings before, but those were friends that I met at college; it?s different when it?s somebody that you?ve known your whole life. Somebody you toddled around in diapers with. Somebody you made friendship bracelets with.
Suddenly, I realized, we?re all grown up.
It?s strange to think about how much time has gone by without even noticing it. How much things change when you?re not paying attention. How life goes on even if you?re not there watching it.
After living by myself for a while, going back home to visit is strange. Mostly because it?s not really going home ? it?s just visiting. As I sat around my parents? house and ventured into town to buy some good Wisconsin cheese curds at the Piggly Wiggly, I had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was off.
Sure, there were things that were physically different. My parents have a new patio. The gas pumps by the grocery store belong to another company. There?s suddenly a gigantic building under construction by the freeway off-ramp. As I was not home when these little changes happened, they were a shock to my system. They were not consistent with my memories. It?s not the home I remember. In my mind, these things did not belong.
Then I realized that I was the one who did not belong.
I know that sounds pessimistic. I assure you I don?t intend it that way. I also don?t mean it as anything negative towards my parents. They will always be my home. But, much like when I was sitting in that chair watching my friend recite her vows, I was struck with the realization that I?m all grown up.
My memories are full of the places and people back home, but they?re just that ? memories. Just like my hometown has changed, I?ve also changed. We?re no longer a part of each other?s reality. We?ve both moved on. Now home is just some place that I used to live.
Six years ago, I moved away from home for the first time. During this time, I was aware that I was growing up and that my life experiences were affecting me. I?ve always been proud of the fact that I went far away to college and learned to be independent. But, I was so busy living my life that I didn?t realize how much life was altering who I am, turning me into a different person than the girl who left.
In my opinion, this is a really good thing. It?s what?s supposed to happen in life. I think back to the teenage version of myself who couldn?t wait to grow up and leave town. I know that somewhere inside of me that 17-year-old girl is cheering right now ? Mission accomplished.