Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fun And Funerals

I left home when I was eighteen and drove fifteen hundred miles simply to show that I could, I made a stand and shed no tears when I left everything I knew behind, at eighteen I thought I knew everything, and in my mind I was the smartest man around.

I grew up in what was considered a poor family, my Dad left before I ever started school and my Mom raised four children on her own, I was the man of the house from the time I was about six, and as a teen worked to help Mom care for my siblings.

By the time I was eighteen Mom had remarried, she had now introduced a new man into the family, and I was well on my way to becoming something great, you remember back when you knew everything and everyone else knew nothing.

I smiled when I saw that sign coming into view that told me I had done it, I had actually left my home behind, never to return, I was now in another state, uncharted waters so to say, and I was not slowing down, I pressed the pedal to the floor.

I left South Carolina, knowing I would never return, Hell nobody would ever miss me, good riddance I say, who needs this crap anyway, I am smart enough to take care of myself.

At eighteen how smart can you really be? Looking back I can see now that I knew absolutely nothing, and some of the choices I made simply proves this point, but after you have established a life elsewhere can you ever go back?

Thirty some odd years later, I have lived a good life and the details really do not matter, because I wouldn’t change a thing, mistakes I made and the accomplishments I achieved have made me who I am.

I flew home when my Step Dad passed away, he turned out to be one of my best friends, and the Love of Moms life, I am not sure that I became anything great but I did find the Love of my life also.

I have gone back home a few times, trips with my wife and kids, flights for Thanksgiving and deaths in the family, I have been there for both fun and funerals, and think one day I will come home for good, but who knows if it will ever happen.

The last time I left home, while driving down the highway mentally comparing everything I have, against all the things I have missed, I wondered what it would be like to be eighteen again, and would I really ever want to go back.

I saw the sign quickly coming into view, the one that told me I was once again leaving home, most likely for the last time.

I did the only thing I could; I pressed the pedal to the floor.

Is it possible to go back to life as it was after you have left home? And would you want to be eighteen again?

43 comments:

  1. To answer your questions: no, and no.

    I moved out from home when I was 18 and still in school. Two years later, I moved across the big pond. You know, The Big Pond.

    And while I enjoy visiting my family "back home" - and I would totally enjoy winning the lottery to visit much more often - I would not want to go back permanently.

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    1. It looks like you made a much bigger jump than I did, I think at times how much I'd really like to go back or what would have happened had I stayed, but the Good Lord sends up places for a reason.

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  2. Once you've been on your own, going "home" takes on a whole new meaning. No, I don't think it could ever be the same, because "we" aren't the same.

    Eighteen was hard. I don't know if I'd want to do that again. (and if I had to do it again, I'd sure do things a lot differently) I might settle for 35!

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    1. Hey Ms. A, I'd go for being 35 again in a heartbeat, if I had to go back to 18 I'd just as soon stay right where I am now :)

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  3. Thoughtful post.

    I think that age is a big transition time. "Home" just isn't the same anymore. As it was, I reluctantly stayed in my parents' home until I was 20. I couldn't wait to move out, though. Going back to visit is nice as long as it's just a visit. Would I want to be 18 again? No, I was too stupid to know how stupid I was. I like Ms. A's choice of 35 better!

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    1. Hi Abby, "I was too stupid to know how stupid I was." this is how I feel about myself at that age, yes it was a big transition for us at that time, too bad it takes so many years to figure some of this stuff out.

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  4. I did the same as you, Jimmy, except I left home for the first time when I was 17 years old.

    "Is it possible to go back to life as it was after you have left home? And would you want to be eighteen again?"

    For me, no, because in the five years that I was gone I had changed so much. I did in fact, go back for awhile and then left again. But that time for good. And no, I would never want to be 18 again. I love exactly where I'm at right now.

    Great thought-provoking post, buddy!

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    1. Hey Ron, Thank you my Friend, we always hear the term about wanting to be 18 again, or 21 even like you I have no desire for either.

      Seems a lot of us left home early but looking back you always have that tug toward home, when actually we are home right now.

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  5. Gosh this is really a thought provoking post. I left California in 1996 and swore I would never go back to it, yet moved back in 2006 and between 1996 and 2006 visited several times and I wasn't 18 in 1996 (double that and then add a few years). Honestly these days not too many kids could leave home at 18 and make it on their own and not return home out of financial necessary (I speak as a parent whose 23-year-old son has come back twice since he left home at 19).

    The mover who moved us from Montana back to San Diego back in 2006 said something that stuck with me. He was from Montana and had thought of moving somewhere else in various times of his life but when he got into the moving business, he came to find out that a lot of people eventually moved back home, of course not to their parent home, but to the city they considered home. He decided to stick around in his hometown and travel the country moving others and saw the country that way. In our case, it was true, we did move back "home" to California a state both me and hubby spent the majority of our years in.

    But no we can't really go home once we left it, like Ms. A said we aren't the same. I have to remind myself of that in dealing with son living here; he's an adult and I can't treat him like my baby. It is hard a lot to remember that key fact.

    Like I said, thought provoking.

    I don't want to be 18 again. I liked 32, I'd like to go back to that age.

    I'm sure this is going to stick with me for a bit; thanks for writing it.

    betty

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    1. Good to see you Betty, You have brought a lot of good points to us, yes like Ms.A, said we are in fact different people now so with that said we can never go back, and in today's world the kids just wouldn't be able to leave and make it like we did.

      Treating our adult kids like our babies is a thing most of us are guilty of, I say my wife is like a "Momma Hen" trying to protect all of her chicks, it is hard to see our kids as adults but at the same time they will in fact always be our babies :)

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  6. Hmmm...No...and...No

    Excellent post.

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    1. Hi Joe, Thank You sir, I had a feeling No and No would be your answer.

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  7. I left home when I was 20, got married and had 3 babies, lived about 10 miles from where I grew up. I never wanted to be further away than that...I loved my parents so, and wanted to live near them and raise my family around them. Lots of pitfalls and mistakes, lots of boundaries crossed, but I wouldn't change any of it for in doing so I would change me and I think I turned out pretty well, considering!

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    1. Hi Joanne, All of my siblings are within a stones throw of where we were raised so to say, I wonder to myself why I ended up so far away but some things you cannot question because that is just the way it is supposed to be.

      Pitfalls and mistakes teach us about life and how to handle it, it seems to me you have a handle on it and know what is important, I feel you made your parents proud.

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  8. I didn't think I knew everything when I was eighteen but I had an exaggerated sense of self importance and I thought the world was my oyster. I'm smarter and more realistic today, and I wouldn't want to be eighteen again.

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    1. Hey Stephen, I think most of us fit into that same category, I hate to admit that I really thought myself smarter than everyone else while in actuality I was just a typical teenager.

      Sure glad we outgrew all of that :)

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  9. I'm a 'no and no' person. 18 for me was a terrible age, my mom used to knock me around, dad worked away, and I couldn't wait to leave. In those days it wasn't easy for a girl to up and go so I got married instead. Big mistake, too young to know what I was doing. It was my biggest regret of all time. Move on a few years to when I remarried, when I DID know what I was doing, when I entered the happy ever after syndrome. No I wouldn't like to go back.

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    1. Hi Valerie, Yes hard times at home sent a lot of us packing, and a lot of young girls did marry to get out, my Mom was one who like you mentioned married young and found the Happy Ever After scenario the second time around, same with me but that is a whole other story for later.

      I always enjoy looking back, a lot of things I don't want to relive but I am glad to have them all behind now.

      Good to see you my Friend.

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  10. I left 'home' under very strained circumstances and never looked back. Honestly, I still feel as though I knew best back then!

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    1. Hey Bijoux, I can see how the circumstances of our youth determine how young we leave, also the bad memories make it harder to go back, I know several people who like you said never looked back once they got out.

      I wish I was actually as smart now as I thought I was back then, funny how we thought we knew all :)

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  11. I wouldn't mind being eighteen again, but if the opportunity somehow arose, I wouldn't take it unless I could be guaranteed to retain some of the knowledge I now have. You're right about one thing, though, and that's the fact that what we are now is an accumulation of all we were then. And I am happy now, so I wouldn't want to screw that up by doing anything too different!

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  12. To elaborate: I think I'd like go back and be kinder to some folks. I wouldn't change anything that got me to where I am now - maybe - but I was a right a-hole to some folks along the way. That's what I'd change.

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    1. Hi Jim, Good to see you back from vacation, going back for a re do on the times I wasn't so nice to some folks would be the only way I would want to do it also, you are so right in that our attitudes were different then and being kind was not always the way.

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  13. At 18, I was back home in Canada and not sure what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to be. But things change in life, as they always do, and now I am settled in England, quite happy with the way things are going, but sometimes...only sometimes, I feel a bit homesick.
    People change and move on, making new lives for themselves. I keep in touch with my parents really often due to Skype...but this is now my home and although I feel I should go back, I doubt very much that I will...or would I if I had the chance?
    Life often throws us a curved ball.

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    1. Hi Megan, Yes life does throw us a curve ball sometimes, I always said that when the kids were grown and out on their own that my wife Cindy and I would move home to SC (South Carolina), the kids grew up and Cindys Mom got sick and our help was asked for, three years ago we moved to Southern California to be with her parents, Now we are living in SC but it is SoCal rather than South Carolina, thats my curve ball but I am happy

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  14. I wouldn't wish to be 18 again; too much angst and insecurity. Not to mention all the competitiveness in both love and career. In less than a year I will take early retirement and am looking forward to spending my time writing, walking and traveling around the world with the lovely Mrs Jones!

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    1. Welcome Bryan, It sounds like you have a wonderful plan my Friend, once you get used to actually being retired, you and Mrs. Jones will have the time of your lives.

      18 was a difficult time for everyone it seems, not a child anymore but not yet an adult, no wonder there was so much angst and insecurity.

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  15. Jimmy--What a great post! I am sorry I have not been by on a more regular basis, but can I tell you how happy I am we have reconnected? 18 seems so long ago. I left home as well and never returned to live, only to visit. Would I go back to that time? No. Nope. I would like to go back and talk to that girl that I was though. I'd give her the encouragement she needed so badly.

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    1. Hey Betty, I am proud to see you my Dear Friend and look forward to catching up now, going back to give words of wisdom to ourselves when we needed it most is an option I never thought of, yes I would want to do this myself.

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  16. Interesting post...i witness you in my own kids, who also know everything...guess if an 18 yr old did not believe that much in himself it would not be a good thing after all.
    I would not want to be young, stupid, poor and 18 again, except I still had both of my parents then and that would trump everything.

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    1. Hi Annmarie, Gaining back a lost Parent would in fact trump anything, but to go back simply for the thrill of being 18 again I agree with you, I'll just stick with what I am now.

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  17. The young years are a lot harder now than they were when I was 18. If I could go back, KNOWING what I know now, I'd like to think I would.

    Of course I could do everything differently and still screw the crap out of my life - and maybe a thousand times worse - but I don't see how.

    I'm just relieved that I finally made it. It's a horrible shame that I'm at the jumping off point in life when I finally figured life out.

    (1) I wouldn't get married to the man I married at 18.
    (2) I wouldn't get pregnant at 18.
    (3) I wouldn't depend on a man for my food, home, and insurance
    (4) I'd choose a career and depend on myself

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    1. That would be my fear if given the chance to go back, I would be just as stupid as I was then and do everything exactly the same Ha Ha so why bother.

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    2. EXACTLY. We would KNOW the traps to avoid, but we'd have no idea about the new traps we'd walk right into. Yep. To quote one of my most hated sentences: It could be worse.

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    3. I suppose it could be worse, we could be sent back knowing even less than we did then Ha Ha

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  18. I think, you can never really go back. I left home at 19, moved half across the country, and then came home... to a life I had to redefine all over again. Then, on a recent trip I visited FL, where I had escaped to all those years ago, and found it wasn't really home either.

    Would I return to 18? Nope. 28? hell no. 38's looking good though...

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    1. Hey Juli, good to see you and I hope everyone is feeling better.

      Moving across the country at that age is a real culture shock, and after you have been away going back is really no more than a visit, I'm with you my 30's would be a whole lot more desirable than any other age.

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  19. This was a fantastic and very thought provoking post Jimmy!
    I know exactly what you are talking about! Five adult kids later and I now believe it's one more step on the developmental journey that all young people must take. Not many of them actually hit the road at that age though, that takes some guts. I actually left before I was eighteen and the only thing that I truly knew, was that I had to get OUT of that house. Jimmy, you know better than most about my family history and why I had to get out of there. Pretty soon, I'm going to do a post on the crazy things that happened on my last day at home.

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    1. Hey Pat,

      Yes sir I know the reason you left was a had to situation, and five Adult kids later you have done a fabulous job raising them my Friend.

      A post on your last day at home is one that will be an eye opener for a lot of people, you know better than most the trials and tribulations of life at that age and it is a blessing for you to share your wisdom.

      Thank You Pat I appreciate you.

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  20. Go back to things as they were? No, of course not. Things change. All things change. All people change. That's not a bad thing, just a fact. And would I want to be 18 again? If I could put all the knowledge and wisdom and experiences I have today into an 18 year old body, sure. But to go back to that naieve little goof that I was 44 years ago...NO WAY!

    Good post. :)

    S

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    1. Thank You Sir, Lordy to think if we had the knowledge that we carry today back then, that would eliminate a bunch of mistakes :)

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  21. You know, after leaving home at 18 and coming to Texas. More than half my life has been lived here, and it is more home to me than where I came from. I don't even know if I could go back.

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    1. Hi Angelia, You are so right, I too have been away from home a lot longer than I actually lived there, and with that said makes me wonder if going back would ever be a possibility.

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