To live well is to constantly mourn your past while building your future. If you have been living well, to mourn your past is the only reasonable emotion.
The best life and the worst life pass by at the same rate. A bad life offers hope of a better life, but a great life only offers the countdown to nothing and the expectation to build again and again. Only someone who has had a great life knows the cost of this building.
Believing this, I have been in Buenos Aires on a one way ticket for a couple months, but already I look back at the life I left as some golden panacea. If home is a place you don’t want to escape, Hamtramck was the first home I had since I was conscious of having my own room as a child. It comforted me, it’s one way streets and fighting cultures, by day full of teetotalling religious conservatives and by night overrun by free living individualists. You could balance these two perspectives in your mind easily if you just took a walk, if you looked at the porches and the window signs and nodded at the folks walking past you, either in robes or ratted jeans, if you bought your liquor at the corner store and your fruit at the halaleria. Some nights that stretched to the morning I would walk home and take the long way as the blue dawn lit softly the morning commuters making their way to the highway. In that space I breathed air so pure I knew it wasn’t just morning dew but an era, a space in my life as transitory as it was defining.
Here on the other side of the world there are moments that want to break through. You speak a new language and at one point you realize the conversation isn’t forced, and like a hatchling you only want to break the shell to help it breath this new air, tasteless, but in it a kind of promise. It would be a dishonor to the memories you love to deny this new thing life. But it’s those memories you hold on to that give you hope.
This is what it means to miss home. There is no reliving the past. But there is always the inspiration, the love, and the ticking clock that tells you there is only so much time to live. This place is still new to me, and there’s no real rest from the novelty but those strange dreams that bring me back to old homes and familiar faces. In this way i know this new place will eventually live, until i don’t live. And that process has become my way to live well.