N. The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness — to the extent you have to keep reminding yourself that it happened at all, even though it felt so vivid just days ago — which, makes you wish you could smoothly cross-dissolve back into everyday life, or just hold the shutter open indefinitely and let one scene become superimposed on the next, so all your days would run together and you’d never have to call cut.

This perfectly embodies a recent trip that I had. And though it wasn’t far, the lingering feeling of rückkehrunruhe remained. I can say that one of the hardest things I have ever had to do is let go of habits and people that continue to destroy me- regardless of how well or little I actually identified with them. Some people come into our lives with little to no warning. And while there are people who come and go, there are also people who stick around for awhile; People who you come to find out are a better mirror image of yourself than you ever wanted to believe existed. It may be a close friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a family member. It’s these kind of people that provide perspective on the destructive habits and people that we, as an individual, cater to.

But why do we cater to such people? Such habits? Such memories? Such places? Because they’re familiar. They evoke feelings that we tried so hard to forget, but never wanted to because, at the time, those feelings legitimized our ability to feel anything at all. The essence of rückkehrunruhe is not within having returned home from an immersive trip; it’s essence involves the feelings that surround leaving such a memory in the not-so-distant past. We have all experienced a stomach-wrenching sadness associated with wishing that we could go back to a place or moment where we felt something. But no matter how significant or insignificant it may have actually been, only you can qualify what rückkehrunruhe means to you. Never let somebody else try to value your feelings based on their own.

When do you experience rückkehrunruhe? I experience the melancholy sensation almost every time I leave Columbia, Missouri.

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