It’s my last night here in New Jersey before heading back to Philly in the morning for the Fall semester. I guess it would be my typical fashion to write a nostalgic piece about seasons ending and saying goodbye to loved ones. The fact of the matter though is I’m not feeling all that sentimental tonight. Of course there’s always that sadness when parting ways from childhood friends and leaving the comforts of your parents house, but as the years go by it gets easier to leave. The friends I have here now are the golden ones, the ones that have lasted, that I have grown with rather than apart from. Even though a number of us have separated geographically, our conversations always seem to pick up right where they left off.
Summers at the Jersey Shore have always been special to me. I would spend countless hours walking along the sand at night, contemplating whatever subject was making my heart heavy at the time. I wanted so badly for those days to last forever, but even that is getting easier to leave. I suppose it has to do with the place I am right now in my life. Philadelphia and everything there has become such a part of me that it’s strange to imagine a time when that wasn’t the case. I believe in all the things I’m working on - school, work, organizations, creative endeavors, relationships - in Philly and elsewhere, wholeheartedly. Thinking back on a time when I was unsure, that’s when it was scary. Scary to leave, to say goodbye, to perhaps return and find things completely different than how they once were. But I’ve come to welcome that change and recognize it as necessary growth. I couldn’t be more pleased or honored to experience that growth with the people I choose to spend my time with, and who choose to spend their time with me.
Now, look what I’ve done. I’ve gotten myself all nostalgic. And I haven’t even begun battening down the hatches for hurricane Irene.
Whenever I begin the commute back home after a night like tonight, I spend a lot of time reflecting. First on the fabulous time that I just had, then usually on the people it was had with, then how I came to know those people, and so on and so forth.
Earlier this year I started a project for school that I titled Finding Home. I interviewed several people on the things that make them feel most at home, when they’re away from home. My goal was to prove that “home” isn’t necessarily a physical location, but something we create with those around us. Honestly, at the time it was just something I thought up on the spot that fit the assignment. I didn’t think I would really get personally invested in it. However, here it is months later, and I find myself thinking about it a lot. Last night I drove around with friends that I painfully missed while at school, and had a wonderful night, but I think we could have been anywhere in the world and it would have been just as much fun. Tonight I was in an unfamiliar place, but surrounded by friends I love and couldn’t have felt more at home. Then sitting on the bus back to NJ, watching the world pass me by through the big square windows, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. There’s something about the open roads that make me feel content, and as long as I’m on the road, all is well with the world.
Maybe I think too much. I romanticize everything. But I’m okay with that.
By the way, if you ever have the opportunity to see this man perform, go without hesitation. I promise you will leave the show different than when you went in. I am humbled and appreciative to call Koji a friend of mine.