There’s a strange swelling of the heart that happens when we get the chance to revisit a place we once knew intimately and have never forgotten. It’s like something in the air fills your lungs–makes your head dizzy and desirous of youth–and you can’t breathe out, but you’re not suffocating either. It’s intoxicating and energizing, and every time I’m in Athens, I feel it.
I love my life, and this place has so much to do with that. It’s where Ryan and I found each other, where I took my first steps toward finding my passions and myself, where I gained some of my closest friends, and my mind always wanders back here. I suppose it’s inevitable that a nostalgia for that brief moment in life between childhood and adulthood grows as we age. That moment felt like opening the front door and being met with a cool, fall breeze on your face while the warmth and comfort of home hovered around your shoulders like a last, warm embrace. It was the loving invitation to hesitate briefly before you took a step out into the cold world, and before you left that doorway, everything was perfect. But it was also terribly fleeting.
Truthfully, I can’t go back to Athens too often. Part of me is afraid that I’ll lose the magic; the other part of me is afraid my heart can’t handle remembering that feeling for longer than a day or two at a time. It’s undeniable–there is something special about this place, and I’m thankful that I got to call it home for a few years a lifetime ago. I’ve always held that season of life in my hands like a snowflake, staring at it voraciously while begging it to stop melting so quickly. I guess we all desire to escape from the real world from time to time, and it seems that Athens may be my place to do just that. And, hopefully, it will be for my girls one day, too.