As someone who gets, well, more than a little nostalgic for the places I love, I've kept my distance from San Diego since college. That city's at the center of so many of my most special memories, and I thought it would be best to rip off the band-aid and never look back. A quick, clean goodbye.
Turns out, that wasn't the case.
Until last week, there had only been a handful of trips back to the beach — a wedding, a writers conference, a bachelorette party. It's just a short flight away, but I've steered clear of San Diego, terrified that I'd go back and feel homesick for the city, wistful and weighed down.
But as with (admittedly) a lot of things, I'd let the idea of the thing become bigger than it deserved. Sure, there was a bit of melancholy when we first landed, but more than anything, I felt glad. Flying over Balboa Park as the sun went down, the city skyline and the bright blue bay beneath us, I didn't miss that time of my life. I just felt really, really grateful for it.
How refreshing, and what a relief, not to ache for what you used to have and where you used to be. It's taken me a long, long time to learn that you don't have to miss something to make it mean something. A place (or a person) can be important to you without pining for it, and moving on — it doesn't have to be dismissive. There are different shades of letting go.