As much as I’d love to buy into the saccharine sentimentality of Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?”, my answer to his question is me.
Since moving abroad, I’ve been back to visit several times and, each time, I feel less and less at home. This isn’t simply because my perspective has been changed by my new environment. Home changes.
I was shocked the last time I returned to my old neighborhood in DC. So many new bars and restaurants had opened. Other places had closed. Hipsters were everywhere.
And it isn’t just the physical buildings that changed, but the people as well. Couples divorced, got married, friends moved away, changed jobs, stopped drinking, started drinking and generally went on with their lives.
Interacting with those changes day to day makes them seem much less severe. You see your friends all the time so you know they are looking for a new job or having problems with their partner. When you’re away, you don’t. So the contrast seems stark. And you’ve changed, probably substantially. The experience of living away makes you rethink things, changes your perspectives and be influenced by new friends.
So you can go home, Bon Jovi, but it’s not home anymore.