I studied in eight schools in my 14 years of education. The first few were due to career moves my late dad made while the last 3 involved a gradual self initiated progression to nerdier schools within the same city.
Every time I’m back home to visit the family (the frequency of which has decreased for various reasons), I try and spend half a day visiting the schools I studied at. Over time, the list of 3 has whittled down to 2 as one of them became unwelcoming to alumni.
I kept this tradition alive over this break. It’s been 13 and 16 years since I studied at these schools. But, a small group of teachers I know still remain. It was lovely catching up about old times and hearing their take on what it is like to teach the current generation (general prognosis is that cell phones and pampering parents have made it really hard).
I was reflecting on why I keep this tradition alive.
I’ve realized it is a lovely way to stay grounded. There’s something incredibly powerful about going back to the places that enabled you to become who you are. I thought about my dreams from those years and found myself marveling at their simplicity. These dreams became more elaborate as I grew up and see more of the world. But, at that time, the dreams were about having enough freedom and earning enough money to have a nice time with the people I cared bout. And * gasp * maybe even have a girlfriend. :-)
There is no end to wanting more. But, it is easy to forget that a lot of what we take for granted today was the stuff of our dreams a few years ago.
And, places and experiences that help us feel grounded are a great reminder of that fact.