Finding Neverland during ninth week

Kaye Herranen

Last week I had my very own mini-panic attack while watching the music video to “Bronte” by Goyte — seriously, try watching it without crying, it’s about a dead dog. The song has always haunted me, but the video put me into a downward spiral of depression and nostalgia.

First of all, I realized how intensely I miss my hometown — a beautiful unincorporated town with nothing more noteworthy than two lakes and several sod farms. My emotional state only worsened once I realized it has been almost three years since I moved out of my childhood home, and I haven’t been back since.

Almost everything I own is new, or new-ish. I moved out in a rush. I thought traveling light would be refreshing, so I filled up my car — not even bothering to use boxes, and drove away. Most of my current possessions have been acquired since my senior year of high school.

I searched my dorm room in vain to find something — anything — that came from my house in Wind Lake. All I found was my luggage, and one of my Dad’s old sweaters.

My cups, furniture, iPod, alarm clock, laptop, jacket, boots, bed, bank account, dentist, primary care physician — all are less than three years old to me.

I realized that everything I held near and dear to me as a child is gone. My first dog, our house, my reading chair, my bed, my woods — our backyard was 10 acres of woods, our front yard was the lake.

Since graduating high school, I haven’t lived anywhere longer than a year. Even when I’m not at Lawrence, I live in a house that’s completely foreign to me, that’s filled with someone else’s history.

I couldn’t even retreat from my sadness to my bed, because I realized even my sheets, comforter and pillow are but two years old. I left so much of myself back in Wind Lake, and I didn’t even think I would miss it.

While in this state of panic all I could think was, “Who have I become? How far have I strayed from the eight-year-old-Kaye who spent most of her time exploring the woods with her dog/best friend Luke?”

My life has become filled with so many things I would have hated as a child. I work myself into exhaustion every academic term and seem to have lost my once-carefree attitude. I spend my days and nights thinking about graduate school, jobs, internships and the future. I sit all day staring at either a professor or a computer screen.

Childhood Kaye loved to read, but more importantly, she loved to play. Now, I play Ultimate Frisbee, but only in scheduled blocks of time.

I purposefully didn’t linger when I left Wind Lake. I thought if I paused to reflect, it would be too painful. I drove away and didn’t look back. That is, of course, one of my most regretted decisions.

However, now that I’ve had some time to reflect post-mini-breakdown, I realized that I haven’t lost as much as I thought. I’m still in choir, and that’s been a constant part of my life since I was in kindergarten. I still have the same stupid sense of humor that only my dad seems to understand. And I still geek out about all things Harry Potter, even if I’m just less public about it now.

If someone were to call me “Flapjack” I would still reflexively answer — my wonderful brother ingrained that nickname too far into my psyche for that to change now.

Lawrence is my new home — and it’s different, and it’s temporary, but that’s ok. Lawrence has a unique community feel because of its size, and I really appreciate that. In time, I will miss Lawrence just as much as I do Wind Lake.

While I might not be as spontaneous as I used to, I did have a wonderful late night impromptu frisbee game in this unseasonably warm weather. I got to play outside while at Björklunden, to have a snowball fight and get lost in the woods.

I think it’s important to have those moments of pure release during the week — especially during ninth and tenth week.

Here, I can sometimes get swept up in the new, the exciting, the revolutionary, and forget the comforts of familiar things, people and places. I’ve been looking so much at programs and career options that would take me further from home — and that’s great, but sometimes I think it’s ok to hold onto your childhood as much as you can.

So really, I encourage you to play outside, get mud on your favorite jeans, take a break from your homework — do something that you love, something fun and silly.

All of the “adult” super-serious things we do here don’t mean anything if we can’t enjoy ourselves while working on them. And for me, that means I’ve got to embrace my inner child a bit more, to realize its ok to miss home, to cling to things from my past — those things are healthy.