Not all transgressions are bad. Sometimes transgressions happen for a reason. I learn from mistakes and I move on. People think that going back is unacceptable, but going back isn’t necessarily regressing.
When I look back on what I had before, my hometown, old friendships or even old habits, I realize that it wasn’t all bad. In fact, hardly anything was bad. Growing up and moving on gives me perspective.
Going Back Home
When I visit my hometown, I drive down secluded streets and the sun peeks in and out behind trees. I stand in my parents’ backyard and think back to when imagination ran wild and life was easy. It’s refreshing and comforting. What once felt crowded and stifling now feels familiar and inviting. It’s nice to go home, to be somewhere where everyone knows my name. I don’t have to constantly introduce myself or be forced to make new friends. Home is where family is. It’s where I celebrate new things, like marriages, babies and high school graduations. These people are genuinely interested in my life.
At one point I felt “home” pushing me out, but now it is calling me back. The mistakes I made at home are no longer in my face. And if you’ve moved far away and you find yourself drifting to your home state, home town, maybe even your childhood house, it’s ok. Coming home isn’t admitting defeat. It means you have been out in the world. You’ve seen everything you want to see and now it’s time settle down and take a break. It’s ok to go back home, because home is very forgiving.
Going Back to Friends and Relationships
It’s seems as I grow older, friends I once held dear disperse and we grow apart. I have made new friends and these tend to be the friends that will stick with me for the rest of my life. But there is something rewarding about rekindling a friendship that I thought was lost. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have. I have held on to grudges when I know I could have just as easily forgiven the offender. But time heals wounds and as we get older, we also grow wiser. Making a mistake in a friendship or a romantic relationship doesn’t mean we can’t go back. Now we know better. Now we understand where the other person was coming from. Now we can make it better.
Going Back to Habits
We spend so much time kicking habits. Each year we make resolutions to stop doing this or cut back on another thing. What if those habits aren’t so terrible after all? How did I get from reading in bed with a flashlight as a kid, to falling asleep in front of the glow of a television every night? Returning to old habits can be freeing, depending on what they are. The saying is true, old habits die hard. There’s a reason for that. Habits make us who we are, whether we like it or not. There’s nothing wrong with trying to be a better, healthier version of myself. But changing the core of who I am is never ok.
So what’s wrong with going back? Home is what I strive for, it’s what I want to find. If I find it in a foreign country, great. But if purple and yellow playgrounds, tree-lined streets and a bench along a river in the small town I grew up in is at the end of my road and I decide to call that home, that’s ok, too.
Meeting new people is what I longed for most. I wanted out of my “bubble”. I wanted new beliefs, new cultures, and new friends to mold me and mature me. It’s easy to forget that the first relationships I forged could still be waiting for me. But maybe those relationships are the deepest ones. Maybe they are the connections we’ve been searching for, not seeing the promise of true friendship right before our eyes.
Just like home and my friendships, my habits constantly remind me of who I am. I am a perfectionist. I bite my nails. Sometimes I’d rather stay up all night reading a book than go to sleep. Habits teach me to embrace autonomy. I’m me. I’m not who the magazines tell me to be. I’m not my friends on social media. I’m an individual, unique, one of a kind.
Going back isn’t necessarily regressing. Going back is realizing what was good and taking hold of it before it’s too late.