Friday, September 5, 2008

Missing vs. Living

What is Home?
What is so special about this place called home? If you have a home you know that when you've been away for a while you start to miss it. It's just a place with people. In my case, my home is Alaska but I live in Colorado. It's weird because I love Colorado but still miss Alaska. I've come to consider Colorado a home away from home but there is still something that makes me miss Alaska. What is it that makes us miss our home?

Colorado, My Home Away From Home
I've lived in Colorado for 3 years as of this August. I live in Colorado for 4 months, go back to Alaska then come back to Colorado for another 4 months. Colorado is an amazing place. I love that there is so much to do here in Golden. Great mountain biking, hiking, tubing, concerts etc. But, the thing I like about Colorado the most is my friends. I have many more friends in Colorado than Alaska. It seems like that's always the case for people who go away to college. I love living in the same house with all my friends because there is always something to do and we can actively build our friendships with each other.

Alaska, My True Home
I lived in Alaska for 12 years before I went to colorado and now it's been 15 years since my family moved to Alaska. Honestly I know a ton about Alaska. I've lived there long enough and driven around a good portion of the state. I also worked at a visitor center for 3 summers where I told people about every square inch of public land in Alaska (Which is almost all of alaska) every day. I could tell you about every part of Alaska. But Eagle River, I know like the back of my hand. I could tell you about all of the hikes in the areas. Name all of the mountains that are fun to climb. I could even describe the ridgelines that connect all of the mountains and design a hike that would connect all of the hikes in the area. Of course, my family is also in Alaska. They are the people who truly support me and I know them all very well. We have gone through many fun times and many difficulties but I am familiar with them and am comfortable with them.

Familiar Things
A couple years ago I wrote a note on why we climb mountains. I explained that the reason I climb mountains is to familiarize myself with the area. It is very important for me to be familiar with the area around me. I think the same idea carries over to why we call a place home and why we miss it. Alaska has become my home because that is what I am most familiar with. I have lived with my family members either for my entire life or for their entire lives so I am very familiar with them. 15 years is a long time to live in one place so I miss how familiar everything is to me in Alaska.

It has took me 2 years for Colorado to become a home away from home. I am becoming more familiar with the area but there is a lot of Colorado I don't know anything about. I know Denver decently well but it's still foreign to me. My knowledge of Colorado is mostly limited to I70 boulder, the springs, and denver because those are the only places I've ever been. My friends in Colorado are great though. I have gotten to know them pretty well but I realize that even my friends are not as close as my family. I've lived with a couple of friends for 2 years which is pretty long but when you compare it with my family it's nothing. My little sister is 14 (Hey I remembered!!!!) so I have known her for 14 years. Out of my family I've known her for the shortest amount of time. 14 years!!! That's over 4 times longer than I've known ANYONE at Mines (Except for the 3 or 4 people I went to high school with that I rarely see). I've known my brother for 18 years now and I've known my older sister and my parents for 21 years!! I've lived with them for so long there is no way I could know anybody better than my family.

The Difference Between Missing and Living
So we have established that the reason I miss home is because I am most familiar with that location and those people. But, what about those times when you don't miss home or when you are at home and it's lame? Well I've pointed out that we all want to be familiar with someplace and with some people. But in our day to day lives that's not all that amazing. Missing and Living are two completely different things. Just because you miss something it doesn't necessarily mean that you will enjoy it when you go back to it.

Two Ways To Be Familiar With Something
Missing is remembering the comfortable feeling of BEING familiar with something. Living however, is much more enjoyable when you are BECOMING familiar with something. We all long to be familiar with something and there are two ways to do that. We can either go back to what we are already familiar with or familiarize yourself with something new. So missing and living are similar in that in both actions we have a desire to be familiar with something. But once you are completely familiar with something (Alaska in my case) living the same old life in Alaska is kind of boring. Being familiar with something is a great feeling but whenever we become familiar with one thing we naturally want to become familiar with the next thing.

Well I need to go familiarize myself with what I am going to do for Senior Design. I am looking forward to becoming more familiar with ZnO nanorods but I know in the future I will want to move on to something else :)

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