Last week my husband and I flew to the Portland, Oregon suburb where we’ll be moving our whole family in just two weeks.
We had lived in this particular town for 7 years before moving to Houston in 2007, and we still have many friends there, favorite restaurants, usual drives, etc. While we were there, it was very much like “old home week” as we visited people and stopped by familiar haunts. It was all very nice…and really, really trippy.
I kept telling my husband that I wasn’t sure what “tense” I was in. It felt very much like the past. It seems the recession hit our old town smack on the jaw, and there hasn’t been much growth since we left; most things are just the same as they were in 2007. And it felt like I had just seen our friends yesterday instead of years ago. It was an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu.
But then I was trying to cherish the present, since I had been so desperately looking forward to being back in Oregon and wanted to soak up everything from the cool weather to the relaxed vibes to the absolute difference in scenery.
And I couldn’t help but begin to anticipate our future as a family, back in a place we love so much. I was already mentally planning trips to the beach, hikes in the mountains, rides on the light rail to the zoo, food cart tours in downtown Portland…
I was most overcome with one repeating thought “It feels like the last five years never happened.” But while I never fully adjusted to our life here in Houston, I don’t want to forget these five years. I don’t want things to be exactly the same when we get back to Oregon, because I’m not exactly the same. I’ve grown and changed and learned a lot. I want to go home again, but I don’t want to go back to square one. I want to take the present me, built from these past five years of experiences, and move into my future – despite the fact that so much around me will be so familiar – and continue to blaze new trails and become an even newer me, even in an old place.
I may struggle to discover what “tense” I’m in even as we return to Oregon, but I think I’ll figure it out as I continue to write my life’s story there.