Arctic Dream

Adjusting to Life at Home

The strangest thing about being home is how normal it all felt at first. After nearly 2 days of travel, a friend picked us up in our own minivan and we drove up Interstate 93 to go home. It felt like coming home after a 2-week vacation.

I had to work my senses to notice of the differences: white noise level is high, our refrigerator is positively huge, traffic jam, hot. I was excited in Whole Foods for corn, cherries, and skirt steak. But I was at peace. Contented. And entirely devoid of emotional turbulence.

Am I such an old bastard that I feel nothing coming home after living on an island for a year? Is a year mentally equivalent to two weeks as far as memory goes?

But as the days worn on, we started to realize that perhaps we have changed. For one thing, we don’t have — neither can we comprehend — the level of anxiety apparent in many people around us. And we’re the ones who don’t have jobs, income, or medical insurance.

And we were in no hurry to buy. Other than food, we haven’t bought anything in spite of having lived for a year in a place without a shopping mall.

Finally, we’re looking at our old life from a slightly different perspective and questioning our old habits. That was one of our goals for the year away: to remove ourselves from our normal surrounding to gain some perspective. Hopefully we’ll be able to expunge the bad that we couldn’t see, and embrace the good that we took for granted.

The true test will come 6 months from now. We’ll know then whether this year had made a difference.

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