T-Day: Travel, Expectations, Perceptions, and Friends

So earlier today, I realized how bloody early my flight left, and as a result how early I would have to wake up to get to my date with the TSA on time. Of course that totally doesn't mean that I'm going to be going to bed any earlier, too anxious and excited to sleep early. Of course in the hours leading up to my short two hour nap before leaving for the airport, I had plenty to do... packing, organizing, and mostly worrying about going home.

Now I say worrying but its really more anticipation, because I know what's coming. Not that I'm expecting a huge epic event that will change the course of history or anything, but I am expecting a much more subtle, reliable, and yet unpredictable change.

Six years ago I moved 3000 miles away from the place where I was born, grew up, and started this crazy story that is my life. For me, the narrative of my life has played out in a way that is obvious and logical to me, but it's not for all of the friends and acquaintances back home. To my friends back home, my life and who I am now as a person, is like a TV show they stopped watching. Sure they saw the first few seasons, and they have a pretty good idea who the major characters are and what they are like. But now we are in season seven and Jim and Pam have a baby, the humans are prisoners to the Cylons, and Jack Bauer doesn't work at CTU anymore. Unfortunately the same is true in reverse... their stories have been going on and I only knew what they were like when I left.

So you have this problem where people see you and they have expectations that you will be a logical conclusion of where you were headed when you left them, but life doesn't go that way. Things change, views change, habits change, people change.

Knowing this should make things better right? Actually, not really. You see, when you know that people have a certain expectation of who you will be and what you will be like, you tend to act differently and try and fill that role. Of course that leads them to perceive you in a way that is neither your form self nor your current self. Then I come back to the Left Coast and they are left with an unreal version of me that they will assume will go in a logical direction from there. I come back home again and the cycle repeats itself, branching out like Doc Brown's timeline from back to the future.

Of course, it is reciprocal, I only see glimpses of them once a year or so and my expectations are just as wrong. The difference is my friends are in their comfort zone. As much as I am coming "home," it's not comfortable any more.

Okay, that turned into much more of a post than I intended to write, but I want to say two things that may not have come across in the past few graphs.

1. When I come home, I'm not the same person you remember. I've grown. I've weakened. I've changed. I'm sure you have too.

2. I'm still your friend. I liked you then and still do because of the part of you that doesn't change. I hope the opposite is true.