Home At Last

Featured Photo Credit by Esther Merbt from Pixabay [edited]

Have you ever had this sensation?

You’re about to walk someplace, maybe as a young child, maybe with a parent or sibling, feeling absolutely glum, maybe even dismal, because “… it’s so far away!… we’ll have to walk so long!… it’s going to take forever!” The whole way there, it takes ages, like one long walking wait.

But once you finally get there and do your thing, and leave again for home, the walk back feels nowhere near as long, or daunting. I remember one explanation was that we encounter all the same things on the way home in reverse order – a fence, a tree, a crack in the sidewalk. Obviously, we reach them sooner in reverse, but they seem to arrive more quickly because they’re fresher memories. Then, before you know it, there we are again, home at last.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

… yeah, who knows. But I do know I’ve had that sensation plenty of times where the journey back felt way faster, and home nowhere near so forever-far away, than when we first set out.

Another explanation is that, when we first set out, a whole adventure lies ahead, and our imaginations have room to breathe and explore the unknown. This one rings true both directions, there and back, which is actually why I don’t buy it… if it’s such an adventure, then why all the dread and pre-walk fatigue and wishing we’re already finally finally there? Why do things one way feel like forever, but the other way seem so quick?

I got to wondering after another idea… how looking forward to the future can seem so far away, compared to looking back at the past, which can feel like just yesterday.

Photo Credit by Nati from Pexels

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: the past really is just yesterday. But I mean the distant past, which can feel so recent, particularly as we get older. There we are one day, when suddenly – whoosh – it’s all behind us. All sorts of thoughts arise, looking back… ‘it just goes so quickly’… ‘if I could do it all over again’… ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’… all those thoughts, and emotions too, which we sometimes call ‘regret’ or sometimes we call ‘wisdom’, and which only arrive as we look back from where we came.

As we look forward, “…ages from now” or “…in a few thousand years,” the future just seems so forever-far away, though there’s also a reverse effect… say, when some local business tries to invent tradition by leaning on – wow – a whole “quarter century.” No question, time scales in the hundreds and thousands consume lifetimes. Yet I’ve also had days as an adult when even “… next month” felt like the distant future. Days like that, looking back at fleeting life, I might happily wish I really was back walking to some faraway place with a parent or sibling – then, at least, I’d be looking forward not to the weight of ages but only to the walk back home.

Author: Scott Robertson

Scott is a Canadian school teacher, a doctoral candidate in Education, an avid gardener, and a football (soccer) coach. He is also a Dad. Scott worked in high school classrooms for 17 years, teaching mostly Secondary English. He describes learning as a continual renovation: intentional self-reflection aimed at personal growth, alongside people who share similar aims. At the core of his lessons is personal responsibility, an approach to living with integrity by adopting the habit of thinking. It's a blend of philosophy, literature, grammar, history, and science, all tied in a bundle by classical rhetoric. His students often described his approach to be unlike others they knew—mostly in a good way—which prepared them for post-secondary school and adulthood, citizenship, and whatever else. Outside the classroom, Scott has been coaching football (soccer) since 1990 and still enjoys playing, too, except when he’s too injured—then he tries to play golf instead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: