Have you ever gone back to visit a place where you used to live? I’ve done that three times this year, including the FitSocial conference in Boulder this past weekend. For me, these are emotional returns, both for regrets and joys that occurred in those places. Do you have the same reaction?
This past weekend Kymberly and I traveled to Boulder to attend the only conference we know of that unites social media (including blogging) and up-to-date accurate fitness & health research – FitSocial – the “premier conference discussing the communication of cutting-edge health and fitness information to the public via blogging and social media.”
For me, this was more than a opportunity to speak at a high-class conference; it was a return to the town and home (we still own it) where my boys were born, including a post-flood inspection of the house, which is in a designated flood zone by Boulder Creek. For six years, we lived in Boulder. I thought it was where my boys would grow up, listening to my nagging about stomping snow off their boots, pulling up non-indigenous weeds from the recycled-water veggie garden where we had enough to sustain ourselves for at least a day in case of a Rocky Mountain Zombie Apocalypse. I thought we’d spend many years yelling at passersby to get their dogs off our lawn (organic poop is still poop).
I loved my job at CU Boulder, which was a 5-minute walk across an old bridge to campus (as you can see, that bridge got washed out by the flood). I loved getting my MA in family counseling in Colorado, joining the multitudes of counselors trying to make a living in blissed out Boulder. But the boys begged their dad to move them to Minnesota (translation – job transfer), so we left in ‘98.
My “babies” are now 16 and 19 and remember nothing of their birthplace except from the stories they’ve been told. But my emotional attachment is strong. We kept the house with the intention of returning to live one day, and I hope that day comes to pass. I also hope the same about my former home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where we lived for six years. Kept that home too. (Can you tell I love mortgage payments that are always one payment away from total stress?) If my parents had kept our childhood home in Hermosa Beach, I’d probably be trying to save up to buy that one too, having just gone to Hermosa for a day of nostalgic walking around and reminiscing.
Colorado is the fittest state of the 50, and Boulder is the fittest town in that state, so it makes perfect sense to hold a fitness conference there. I woke up the very first morning (to a light rain, which didn’t make me feel that confident about the flood’s effects) and walked around Boulder. I had the same emotions as when I visited Oregon in June and Hermosa in early September – peaceful happiness at being back “home” and sadness that it had changed and wasn’t really mine anymore. I felt the pride of being an insider, yet isolation at being an outsider too. Part of me was at peace, walking in the rain sprinkles when few people were about, yet I was also in turmoil as I mentally marked all the places where significant (and insignificant, yet now feeling significant) events had taken place in my past. “Ah, the rocks on Pearl Street where my boys played as toddlers,” gave way to “My babies are almost all grown up and how did that happen?”
I wanted to stop strangers who looked like locals and tell them I belonged too, yet also was taking lots of “tourist” pictures (surreptitiously, of course). When I met the tenants and got a look around the house, MY house, I felt like telling the them to get out. I also had a strong urge (luckily resisted) to describe the way we built it in detail. Of course they would have found that fascinating!
It’s a happy, full feeling and a sad, regretful feeling to go somewhere that exists as a memory. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to three cities full of happy, yet “dead” memories in one year. Now I want to move. But it could just be that I am trying to toy with time. Or maybe it’s toying with me. Tell me I’m not alone in this.
Have you gone back after several years to a place where you were happy? How did YOU feel?
Stay tuned later this week for a post from Kymberly that fills you in on a few of the really exciting tidbits from the conference. Some great stuff about weight loss and future trends.
Kymberly is living proof that Lorna Jane Activewear is great for Boomers too (though their ads look geared toward our kids).
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