so long astoria. i found a map of buried treasure and even if we come home empty handed, we’ll still have our stories of battle scars, pirate ships, and wounded hearts, broken bones, and all the best of friendships.

The only thing that matters is just following your heart and eventually you’ll finally get it right.

I once came across a line that I’m kicking myself for not remembering word-by-word.  In essence the line said: You know you’ve grown when you return to the place you left and everything still feels the same.  Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?  It certainly did to me when I first read it; however, I get it.  See we focus so much on changing during our life experiences, and trust me I am one who thought that was the whole point of growing up.  But it is and it isn’t, and I’ll get to my explanation later in the post.

After having a friend date with Stef this evening over Eat. Pray. Love. and a delicious Italian meal (and sangria), I find myself trying to come up with a word to sum up this past week.  See the movie’s protagonist, played by Julia Roberts, attempts to find one word to describe herself (at different points in her life) and the counties that she visits.  Let me pose this question to you…what one word would best describe you?  During the movie my word immediately came to me: seeker.  I am a seeker.  Other words could be ‘dreamer’ or ‘(over) thinker’, but I really think that ‘seeker’ suits me best as I’m always searching for something- whether I know what that something is or not.  

The word for this week is nostalgia.  Truth be told, I sit here and cannot remember all of the reasons why but know that I’ve felt this way since Sunday or Monday.  (It’s been a long week.)  Wednesday really defined this week as being nostalgic with the unexpected arrival of a Facebook message from a best friend in high school, Jessi.  Since I tend to be the one sending random messages & emails to people from the past, after being caught off guard I immediately checked to see if I had previously sent her one.  (Nope.)  Jessi’s message was basically a “Hi.  How are you?  So you live in Chicago?”, but it meant a lot to me especially since I haven’t seen her in 3-4 years.  It always amazes me how such a small form of communication can impact you so greatly.  After hearing from Jessi, I befriend her older sister Tina and the rest is history- literally.  I soon found myself writing “how have you been” and “I’ve missed you” as I strolled down a memory lane that was at least 8 years ago…from Chicago.  Responding to Jessi’s messages this week made me feel like I was that eighteen year old best friend of hers again. 

While I still have a hard time picturing myself living in Pittsburgh again, I have recently spent some time wondering ‘what if?’.  There was even a day when I thought about just applying for the Child Life Internship Program at Children’s Hospital and seeing what happened.  Although my mind tells me you’ll always want to leave again so what’s the point in moving back if you don’t have to, I still wonder- especially since my family is still there.  Hmmmmm….but then again, I am a seeker. 

Ever since I left for college I have been on a soul-searching journey.  And while I don’t always known what it is that I’m searching for, I think it can be categorized under happiness and/or a feeling of personal contentment…which brings me back to Eat. Pray. Love.  I think it’s safe to say that my journey really began 7-8 years ago in college (either at Kent or OU) when I acknowledged that I wanted more for myself than what I had.  I believed that something was out there for me and that I had to find out exactly what ‘it’ was.  Unfortunately I made the common mistake of thinking that I had to change myself in order to achieve that. 

While my religious practices have been lacking over the years, I can honestly say that I still believe in God.  I never stopped believing in God.  Sure I questioned his doings and asked/begged to understand, but never once did I question His existence.

Since hearing it tonight, this quote from the movie has stuck with me: God dwells within us as us.  It’s difficult to understand God’s plan for us along our journey but He is always there within us, leading us towards the moment of recognition as you find your frustrations and anxieties replaced by gratitude.  Everything happens for a reason. 

On Thursday evening I will board a plane back (home) to Pittsburgh for two nights before heading to the beach with my family for some much-needed R&R, and cornhole.  I know that I’ll feel content when I land at the airport and even more so when I see my parents near baggage claim.  We’ll drive North on 79 and as we approach Hampton, I’ll find myself feeling like “a Hampton girl” again.  It still surprises me how good it feels to be ‘home’, but it really does.

My journey has led me to a whole world of unknown territories and explorations.  I’ve climbed hills, mountains, and cliffs over the years in search of the buried treasure that I’ve been told exists.  And while I’ve felt close a few times, I do know that I’m not quite there yet.  But it’s always nice to go home (again) for a refresher before setting off on another adventure.  One of these days I know that I’ll find ‘it’…and whatever ‘it’ is, I know it will be worth the wait.

(Nostalgic) Songs of the Moment: So Long, Astoria by The Ataris & In This Diary by The Ataris.


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