When I was a freshman in college, my professor made us write a paper on tackling homesickness. We were all first-year students, away from home for the first time in our lives, and he wanted us to think about the one thing we were all collectively feeling. The only thing was there wasn’t very many ways to approach this paper. Everyone’s ideas boiled down to about the same thing… The best way to combat missing home was to start getting involved in this new community we were in so we wouldn’t be constantly thinking about what we were missing out on.
Ultimately, keep busy.
And that’s what I’m trying to do right now.
I knew post the best trip to “the most magical place on earth” I’d be coming home to an empty house and no one around. I knew my routines would be different, and I wouldn’t have someone by my side at every moment. So I did my best to keep busy. I gave myself a list of things to do around the house as soon as I landed back on Oahu. I made plans to do something for church on Tuesday night, had therapy on Wednesday, and youth group on Thursday. I knew what I was going to cook for dinner and what movie I was going to watch through the evening so the house wouldn’t be so silent.
I made all my plans, and I tried to keep busy.
But unlike freshmen year homesickness, keeping busy hasn’t been helping me get my mind off the things I’m missing.
It’s every still moment. The quiet pauses throughout the day. Driving in the car on my own. Sitting on the couch. Laying in bed before falling asleep. Sometimes even just closing my eyes for a second too long, and I’m reminded of what I miss.
There’s a familiarity that I don’t have anymore. A sense of comfort that has up and vanished and stopped responding to my texts. The thing that anchored everything down and made home feel like home is now a distant memory.
Keeping busy isn’t enough.
So, the thesis to the paper of how adult Meg is going to combat homesickness- and general sadness due to change and loneliness- is not only to keep busy, but to give it time.
Give it time to get better.
To be able to sleep through the night and not wake up in a panic. To be able to eat three square meals a day without feeling nauseous. To be able to sit on the couch and not feel so alone. Because maybe with time all of these things that feel so heavy and like so much work won’t feel so daunting anymore. Maybe they won’t feel like distractions to cover up the things that are missing in your life but rather fun, life-giving events that give you the energy to keep going.
I wish it wouldn’t take so long, but I know that before I even realize it, the time will have past.