On the other side of the car window the landscape changes from mountains to beach, from sky scraping pines to white sand. My time in California, up already?
Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll be on a plane back to North Carolina, my home state. Tuesday I’ll make the three hour drive back home. Back to college. Boone, NC. Appalachian State. Home, for now. Even though I’ve only been in California for a few days I feel changed from it. I’ve seen things here. I’ve learned things. About the world. About myself. When I come back I won’t be the same. Not exactly.
Sure, California has been great. I lived here in first grade but I don’t remember it. Hopefully the memories I have of this place now will stay longer. I’ve been able to see some of the most iconic places in the world. The Golden Gate bridge is spectacular, the Redwoods are a jaw dropping wonder, and Alcatraz is an impressive ex-prison. Even though it’s been raining for most of the weekend (thankfully, California has been in a drought for a while) I’ve still been able to feel a little bit of the California sun. California, right, but… all that isn’t what made me think about life and everything though… That would be everything else.
Meeting people you “used to know” is an interesting experience. Especially when they remember you and you don’t remember them. When I lived here in California I was six/seven. I’m nineteen now. It’s been a while. I’ve changed quite a bit since then.
So, I was able to re-know some people I used to know. But, what is knowing someone anyway?
It’s impossible (almost) to spend every second with someone for a lifetime. There will always be time apart. Events we will never be there for. Everyone lives their own lives. We’re here for our own life, and intersect bits of others’ lives. Some more than others, but even then it’s only a part. A fraction of the whole idea.
So, if we can’t be there for a person’s entire life, how do we “know” them? Is it just a feeling? An impression, the rest filled in with assumption? Could that be “knowing” someone? Sure, some people would say that. I don’t think it’s that easy. I know there will always be parts of some one I don’t know, and even more I don’t understand. In general my standards are high for me to say I “know” some one. Maybe it’s why I ask so many questions when I try to get to know a person (http://collegeandcrazy.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/ask-questions/). I don’t like to leave “knowing” a person to assumptions. I like to let them tell me who they are.
It makes me wonder how many people out there think they know me, or would say that they know me. I’d figure a lot more people would say they know me than people who actually do.
I say all of this because it’s a theme that’s been re-appearing a lot in my life recently, and because as I was saying “goodbye” to my re-found friends they said “I feel like I know you guys a lot better now”.
I wanted to stop and say “No you don’t”, but that would have been rude and slightly untrue. Yes, they do know me better than they did before I came to visit… but do they “know” me now? No, not at all. They know the person they saw for a few hours out of this random vacation day. They know the me with my family, the me at a strangers house, the me in that moment. But is that the “true me”? No. Not even close.
But then again, what is the “true me”? How do I define myself?
It’s a difficult thing to do, when I think about it. I am different for the moment. My mood fluctuates and I act according to the situation I am (or at least I try). But, I think defining myself comes down to deciding where I feel at home, and realizing “who I am” when I feel that way.
And in conclusion: I’m ready to go home.