Disclaimer: This post is a homework assignment. My English teacher wants each of us to reflect on what it means to be leaving our little bubble of childhood. Since I’ve already addressed the problem of leaving friends here, I’ve decided to focus on the larger community and my family in this post.
There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with knowing where you are, and I am loathe to give that up. One of the things I enjoy about my home town is my knowledge of it. I know where you can go to get cheap food, I can direct you to the nearest grocery store or school, and I have good memories triggered by the sight of many of my favorite hangouts. I don’t want to have to re-create a mental map of my surroundings. Getting back to the idea of comfort, Palo Alto is one of the safest places to live. Cambridge isn’t exactly Compton, but it is closer to an urban center and is a larger town than Palo Alto.
I struggled with where to include this next topic, because one could argue that taking care of one’s self relates more to family than to community, but I think there are important aspects of self-sufficiency which are tied to the community. For instance, grocery stores. One of the benefits of knowing your way around town is that you are able to provide yourself with food, entertainment, and relaxation. Sometimes I enjoy being cooped up in my house, but sometimes I want to take a walk around campus or play Frisbee with my friends. Now that I can drive, my geographical knowledge has helped me to get around without having to check the map every time I want to go to a different place. I think I will lose some of that self-sufficiency by the mere fact of living in a new location, and that I will have to spend some time recovering that self-sufficiency. That scares me.
Thankfully, in terms of family, I have relatives scattered across the East Coast and several family friends who live in Boston. I think the more shocking change is what I will be leaving behind. I have two younger sisters, one of whom will be entering the crucible of middle school next year and another one who still has three more years of high school ahead of her. It will be hard to adjust to my new role as “big-brother-at-a-distance.” My room has already been claimed by my sister, even though my mom has plans to turn it into a guest room. We’ll see who wins. Finally, I’m going to make a daring prediction (which isn’t really that daring, it’s just surprising when it happens): my parents will become more human. I think children have a tendency to swing to the extremes when it comes to their opinion of their parents. They either patronize them or idealize them. There have to be exceptions to this rule. The human experience is just too broad. But I can’t call any examples to mind. Anyways, I am definitely on the “idealize” side of the spectrum, and I think that as I being to take my place in the adult world and share in some of their struggles, they will become more fully fleshed out people. I’m looking forward to it.