A Departure from Home


Webster's Dictionary

The meaning of home as defined by The Webster’s Dictionary .

Emily Ito, Editor-in-Chief

When I was little, my family would take a road trip to Las Vegas every summer. A four hour drive, my 8-year-old self was constantly antsy, repeatedly asking the question, “Are we there yet?” To pass the time, my older sister and I would contort our bodies, positioning ourselves in a way that allowed us to face the rear window. When it was an open road, the nearest car being several meters behind us, I liked to look down and watch the lines on the highway merge into a long white stream. I liked to count how many cacti we passed by. Imagine how many miles we had traveled. I liked to try to remember the twists and turns we had made to get where we are. 

I was always excited to arrive at our destination, but I always looked back, a small part of me longing to whip the car around and return home. Return to the comforts of my bedroom. To the smell of my kitchen soap. To the sound of my best friend’s laugh. Vacation was a perfect opportunity for enjoyment and adventure. It was a brief period of time to do something different, to experience something new. But the novelty of vacation is the fact that it’s brief. That my trip would conclude and I could go back to my everyday routine, regaining the security of familiarity. 

I think that’s where my reluctance to begin my journey towards adulthood stems from. Becoming an adult is reaching the dazzling lights of the Las Vegas strip, but with the knowledge that there’s no returning home. 

I have always been a starry eyed kid, daydreaming about my future and the freedom of adulthood. But as I have gradually begun to reach maturity, I’m overwhelmed with nostalgia and a desire to stay stagnant in adolescence for a little while longer. 

My ambition continues to burn inside me and my visions for the future become more vibrant with each day. But my hopeful journey towards a dream destination doesn’t mean that I don’t feel homesick. It doesn’t mean that I won’t look back at all that I’m leaving behind. 

Home is my childhood. It’s the warmth and safety of my father’s embrace. It’s the purring of my cat as I rub behind her ears. It’s the late night drives with the windows rolled down. It’s knowing every single divot in the road and every speed bump in my high school parking lot. 

I’m growing up, and it’s time to pack my bags and say goodbye to the only life I’ve ever known. There is so much turmoil building inside of me as I try to accept that I will no longer have the safety of always knowing what’s around the corner. I am going to miss how routine adolescence is. How familiar it is. How safe it is. 

But I think that the thing I’m having the hardest time letting go of is the innocence and carefree mindset of being young. As a teen, the most important things we have to worry about are receiving good grades, spending time with our friends, emptying the dishwasher. But as I consider the opening of a new chapter in my life, I think back to a comment my friend, Jacob Viveros (12) made during one of our late night talks. He reminded me that “adulthood comes with endless freedom, but with that, endless responsibilities.” Growing up in a small and safe town has allowed me to trust every person I meet. It’s sheltered me, and allowed to operate under a false illusion that the world is a simple and good place. Becoming an adult is waking up from this childlike dreamworld and becoming conscious of how complex the world and our relationships are. 

So I fear the enormous changes that are about to commence. The struggles that I cannot avoid. But by the same token, I cannot help but feel excitement for the mountains I will climb and the triumphs I will have. 

Growing up means gaining the knowledge and confidence to make change in this world. While leaving behind adolescence means bidding farewell to innocence, it also means gaining maturity and becoming insightful and experienced. Entering adulthood means gaining new perspectives and discovering what my values are. It’s shaping me into the person I want to be. Evolving and growing intellectually and emotionally is an accomplishment that I can’t help but look forward to achieving. 

So 17-year-old me is repositioning herself to face the road ahead. She’s patiently waiting to reach her final destination. There is no eagerness to arrive sooner, instead, she takes in every moment of the car ride, experiencing it to the fullest. She’ll sneak peaks back at what lies behind her, but she knows in her heart that greatness lies ahead.