I drove down from Pennsylvania to Northern Virginia yesterday, and as I was driving along the George Washington Parkway passing the McLean exit, that Bon Jovi song, "Who Says You Can't Go Home" came on.
I was a few minutes early, so I detoured through McLean, where I finished elementary school and went to intermediate and high school. All told, I spent nineteen years in the DC area, buying my first house with my husband in Alexandria and our second in Maryland.
Northern Virginia is a pretty transient area, unlike where I live now. Most people I meet here in Pennsylvania grew up in the area and have a strong sense of home. This trip made me realize that, as ready as I was to leave the DC area when we did, it is undeniably still home to me.
Driving around Northern Viriginia set me to thinking about how each of us carries an emotional map inside us - a topographical map of places we have been, the contours of which are based on our emotions and experiences.
No one will ever drive the exact combination of streets I drove yesterday with the same emotions. And the same is true for everyone else, their emotional map is like a fingerprint, unique to them. And although it was bittersweet to see what I had left behind, I am glad that I have been able to add new parts of Maine and Pennsylvania to my own emotional map.