Monday, May 23, 2011

Living at Home in Your Late Twenties Part One: I'm in a Garden State of Mind

So I am done with my graduate degree, what an accomplishment.  In between getting a job and graduating
Gardenstatewith a masters, I somehow ended up living at home for a short amount of time.  I love my family, they are great and would do anything for me.  With that said, my mom actually just walked into my room and asked me if I could clean up my room; she has also asked if I brushed my teeth and sent me a text message last night asking me where I am.  My sister has a new boyfriend, and I got to spend time with him this weekend, and she is becoming an actual adult.  Going home has taught me a couple of lessons, and I think that I have learned in films that these messages ring true. 

1) Home isn't about the actual place or people it's about the feeling you get while your there. The first message about home I learned comes from the films Garden State (2004) and it involves my favorite quote from a film ever.  Zack Braff's character Andrew and Natalie Portman's character Sam talk about home and the ineraction goes like this:

"Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.
Sam: I still feel at home in my house.
Andrew Largeman: You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place."

The sentiment is sometimes maudlin, but do we long for our childhood when we go home?  Is there something missing when we enter this place?  The phrase home is where the heart is, is cliche for a reason, but does it ring true?  I often think about my home and where my family are and how living in this shell of a place is different from what it used to feel like.  I know that things never feel the same, but when people go back they act as though nothing has changed.  Yet everything has changed.  I am lived outside of this house on my own for the last almost ten years.  I have created an identity separate from my family so how do I reconcile the different pieces of myself.

The movie Garden State is poignant for me because it has made me think about what going back to your hometown means as you grow and change.  People grow, and move on without you there.  Yet there are also things that don't change and Andrew finds himself at party with old friends doing familiar things.  This film is genius because it highlights all the elements of the struggle to find what home and family mean.  The soundtrack to this film, is my favorite soundtrack of all time.  The music highlights every element of the film perfectly.  My favorite song in the film is from the band Frou Frou entitled "Let Go.  The music defines this movie, and frames Braff's character so well.  Garden State defines the melancholia of a generation and what home means.

As I sign off this blog entry my mother just came into my from and complained about my room not being clean.  Tomorrow's blog post will highlight the second lesson I have learned.

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