1. Your parents arrange for you to see every single one of your relatives while you are in town, because “who knows when you’ll be back again,”
2. While you love your family, you quickly tire of answering the three same questions over and over again. No, Grandma, my job hasn’t changed. Nope, I’m still not dating anyone. No, I’m really not too sure when I’ll move back.
3. Your parents vacillate between viewing you as a guest who shouldn’t have to lift a finger and an excellent source of free labor.
4. During a period of time in which you are being deemed as free labor, your parents send you to the grocery store (and pharmacy and post office and to pick up your younger sibling from soccer practice). While shopping, you bump into no less than three people you know but haven’t spoken to in years. The small talk is painful.
5. You run into your old prom date’s mom, and she tells you she’s still holding out hope for you two. You smile uneasily, and debate the idea of inventing a fake significant other.
6. Some of your friends have kids, and you get to meet them. While holding one of these babies, you think to yourself, “Kid, I used to hold your mom’s legs as she did keg stands,”
7. You go to one of the four local bars in your town with a few of your friends (the ones who don’t have kids). The townies there are now a bunch of people you graduated with. You don’t recognize many of them because the years haven’t been kind, and this makes you wonder – do I look a million times worse than I did in high school?
8. You get creepily hit on by one of your old classmate’s dads, who is a regular there.
9. You talk to at least one former classmate and genuinely enjoy the conversation. You tipsily promise to “keep in touch ”. The next morning, you facebook them. Then you promptly forget about your promise.
10. The gossip about everyone you grew up with is incredible, because you have years to catch up on.
11. You find that you can still pick right back up where you left off with some of your childhood friends, and are delighted that it feels like (almost) no time has passed.
12. Conversation doesn’t come as naturally with other friends, and you discover that you no longer have that much in common with them. You know that’s ok – you’ve changed and so have they, but the realization still aches a bit.
13. When all else fails, you and your friends can still reminisce about the good ole days, and you realize that even though life has taken you somewhere else, this place and these people have helped make you who you are today, and you’re really glad you came back (even if you can’t wait to leave again).