Getting Older With Childhood Friends

Like a lot of people, I moved back to my hometown after college. Money was simply coming in faster than I could keep up with. I even had to open up a number of offshore accounts just to get some of it off my hands. So it only made sense to bunk up with my parents for a bit. Any way, it’s been a few years since then and I’m still here, in my hometown. (Living on my own now because money has slowed to a manageable rate!)

I didn’t necessarily plan it that way, but that’s how it has played out. Facts are facts. And while it’s not all great, there are a few pretty cool things about spending some adult years in a place where I grew up. Among them being the ability to reconnect with childhood friends (and meeting an incredible, kind-hearted, talented, funny, smart, smarter than you, and by you I mean me, pretty little lady who would become your fiance; and by your I mean my).

Some people may think that sounds terrible. Seeing people from your past. From your younger days when you may have been a different person, may have done some regrettable things, may have stolen your buddies super cool pocket comb which you still feel pretty guilty about. And sure, there are those people who, if you see, make you hide in the Chick-fil-A play-place for an hour and a half, because apparently that’s how long it takes to eat a chicken salad. But, if you’re lucky, there are a handful of childhood friends who really were your good friends. And who you really do enjoy seeing.

For example, I play in a soccer league once a week—have for most of the time I’ve been back in my hometown—with a good majority of the team being guys I grew up with. It’s something I always look forward to. Some of that’s because it feels good to run around playing a sport I enjoy playing, and being competitive, and thinking differently than I do most of the week. But it’s also because it’s fun spending time with a bunch of buddies—joking, telling stories, talking about life.

These are people I played hide n’ seek with. People I played backyard soccer and baseball and football with. People I chased after girls with (or at least talked about girls with; girls are intimidating, man). People I looked up to and emulated. People I learned about life with, if only just a little bit. Now those same people are getting married, buying houses, and having kids. And I’m seeing it first hand. Which is pretty crazy, considering some of these people I wouldn’t have trusted to keep my pet rock alive (if I had a pet rock, cause I definitely didn’t, and its name wasn’t Tim). But now they’re great parents and productive members of the community.

That’s also not to say living in one’s hometown is better than not living in one’s hometown. There’s something to be said about meeting new people, with different insights and perspectives and upbringings; exploring unknown landscapes, giving you a glimpse into the world outside of your bubble—however big or small that may be. Perhaps even finding a place that feels more like home than any other place you’ve been before. I think it sounds incredibly exciting, and I’ve always been intrigued by the adventure it would offer. The two are just different.

Is living in my hometown what I expected at this stage in my life? Probably not. I’m not sure what I did expect—maybe to have a little place in the south of France, and another in the Swiss Alps, and another in the mountains of Colorado, and maybe a place in Milan too, probably another one in South America somewhere as well, like Peru or Chile, and who could forget Australia! (However, I’d probably be too busy romping around the world, living for week’s at a time in a remote part of Africa learning about the origin of life, or skiing the best mountains the world has to offer, or riding a motorcycle across Europe, or entertaining high profile guests to some tasty dinners in my New York and Tokyo high rise apartments, to spend too much time at any given place, so maybe I’d just Airbnb?), but it’s where I find myself now. And, as luck would have it, it’s turned in to a unique opportunity. One I’m glad to have had, and to be having now. However long it may last.