Though I am adamantly opposed to clichés, coming home for Thanksgiving break has proven the old “you never know what you have until it’s gone” line true.
Before I left campus, I was eager to get home, to escape to that place that was so diametrically the opposite of my experience at school. At school, I was stressed, exhausted, over-scheduled. At home, I would be relaxed, cozy, and carefree. I couldn’t wait to see my family face to face and to take a break from facing responsibilities. I also couldn’t wait to reunite with my bed, my couch, and all of the other spots I could curl up on with a blanket and a book.
And, of course, true to the oft-repeated phrase, now that I have everything I wanted, I want to go back to school. It’s not that being home isn’t everything I hoped it would be – I’ve had home-cooked meals, time with my mom, and extended stays on the couch – but now that I’m home, all of the things that were just background noise at school suddenly stand out to me. And I miss them.
I miss being constantly surrounded by suitemates, classmates, strangers. People who were stressed out as me, sure, but people I could reach out to, kill a couple hours with commiserating or gossiping as needed. It’s felt very quiet at home in comparison. And without the constant presence of other people rushing to get work done, it’s very hard to convince myself to stay on track as well.
I miss living far away from everything on campus. Going to class, getting a coffee, or finding a good place to study were all good excuses to get out of my room and go somewhere. The couch that was so cozy Friday night when I first got home is starting to feel stuffy. And I’ve never realized how much I moved around at school until I came home and no longer had a reason too. Now it’s sit on the couch, walk a few steps to the fridge, sit back down, repeat. Whenever I do leave the house it continues, because my hometown is not as walkable as a college campus, and driving feels an awful lot like sitting.
I actually miss being overbooked, too. Being home has made me realize I work best under pressure, as uncomfortable as it can be. Bouncing from class to meeting to work to dinner keeps me productive and prevents me from wasting a huge chunk of my time on Netflix. While it sucks in the moment, I do enjoy the feeling at the end of the day when I can look back and know I’ve accomplished something. Somehow, “rolling out of bed” and “changing into a different pair of sweatpants” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “did a group presentation” and “finished a five-page essay”.
This break isn’t all bad, though. My brothers and my friends are coming home tonight, so I’ll get some more of that human interaction I’ve been missing. And with Thanksgiving and an alumni field hockey game around the corner (wish me luck), I’ll get some additions to my schedule. And, of course, by the time I’m mid-finals week, I’ll be missing every minute I spend here rolled up like a burrito on the couch with my phone and TV remote balanced on my laptop and a huge bowl of popcorn.
It might be time to embrace another cliché and live happily in the moment.