Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
I thought of that quote last week when Joe and I arrived home from Maine and Nova Scotia. We’re both a little silly, but in a good way, we like to think. We name inanimate objects like our car -- even some of our trees. We say good-bye to our house when we travel and we’re always overjoyed to come home. In fact, as we’re leaving the airport, we usually play the same game.
“Wait until you see the place I’ve booked for tonight,” I’ll begin.
“You’ll love it! It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath suite with a full kitchen, reclining leather sofa and a flatscreen television. There’s even a beautiful garden out back.”
“No kidding?” He’s always amazed.
“And I’ve heard the king bed is out of this world.”
“I can’t wait,” he’ll say. And he means it.
When we walk into the same home we’ve lived in for seven years, we’re seeing it with new eyes. We’re thinking of all the hotel rooms we’ve just occupied, the beds of inconsistent quality, the uncomfortable chairs, the toilet seats that are always too low. By comparison, home sweet home seems like a palace!
We see our home through new eyes when we travel, but we try to see our hometown with a vacation perspective as well. Years ago we lived in the suburbs of South Florida. Whenever we visited some charming New England town, we'd dream about living in a place with wood-frame houses and a history older than 30 years.
Now we live in a two-horse town with a 157-year history, and we’ve never forgotten how lucky we are. We walk through our own historic downtown, enjoying the noontime toll of the bells from the Methodist church. We drive by one of our many beautiful lakes, or stretch out on the Town Square lawn to watch a free outdoor movie. We cheer for our local collegiate summer baseball team and laugh at the same corny jokes week after week.
Whenever we stop to see our familiar life through new eyes, we realize once again that happiness really does reside between our ears. With a smile and a squeeze, we always say the same words with gratitude and awe. “We live here!" Maybe that's not so silly after all.