The two books that I reviewed this week, Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay and Chalk Lines and Lipstick by Ophelia London, both dealt with a protagonist who felt the need to return home after facing challenges in their life. Coincidently, both are reporters who had recently lost their job, and each faced odd happenings when returning to life in their former small towns. While both books were written in somewhat different styles, they both showed that going home can prove challenging.
This started me thinking about the enticement of returning to the time and place of our youth. People think of it as a simpler time when most of us had the protection of our parents and worries that seemed impossible at the time, but in retrospect were not quite as heavy as those we face as adults. Our friendships were less complicated then, and our responsibilities more easily met. Would I blink my eyes and return to that time if I could...not for a million dollars. As Lewis Carroll states, "I was a different person then."
I actually admire some of the younger me, but I wouldn't want to go there again. I was braver then. I did things without fear because I didn't think anything could happen to me. I wish I could regain some of those feelings of invincibility, but somehow the further development of my frontal lobe made me realize that, unfortunately, bad things can happen to me and those I love. However, the years that brought me those revelations also brought me Arthur, Michael, Beth and so many more people to love and want to protect, and the thought of going back to a world before them is untenable.
Things were indeed simpler then. I didn't have to deal with computers that crash for seemingly no reason, other people's cell phones that disturb nice restaurant meals, walks in the park and quiet family time, or so many chemicals and preservatives in my food. Of course that meant that I didn't have the luxury of research at my fingertips or the peace of mind brought about with the ability to call my loved one if I was worried when he/she was late. I also had considerably less food to select from, because much of it spoiled too soon to be practical to put on market shelves.
I know that the "good old days" seem tempting at times, but the medical and technological advancements that have taken place over the decades of our lives have allowed us to age gracefully with better health care and technology to keep our brains as active as we want them to be. Yesterday was a great time and home was a great place, but today is filled with things our grandparents and parents could have never imagined.
After all, college-age Beverly would not have had an electronic device to read her books on, a computer to write her blog on, or a readership of people from all corners of the world. I think I will stay right here!