It takes us a long time to realize that our parents are people. They have pasts and experiences, and they too were young once. Life took them on adventures; there were lovers, friends, inner turmoil, and passions that moved them from one point to the next. It’s so easy to remain ignorant to these bits and pieces that make up who your parents are. If you never ask, you might not hear, and if you’ve never hear, you may never really know the people who raised you. I personally love hearing about my parents’ pasts. They lived so free; picked up and left, defied their parents, practiced yoga and spiritual arts. I see two people who made it a point to pave a path distinctly for themselves and not for anybody else. I envy their bravery, and at the same time, I identify with it.
In that quest to get to know my parents when they were young, I recently convinced my father to take a trip with me. On our way home from visiting family in Europe, we made a pit stop in London to retrace his old footsteps. Luckily, his old friend still owns and lives in the house he rented when he was a young spiritual hippie living in London during the 70’s. We went and stayed with her — my dad sleeping in his old bedroom, and myself on the first story. During our visit, we walked around London, enjoying the parks he used to meander through on the weekends and seeing the places he used to frequent. Perhaps most satisfying of all, we spent time with his friends and talked about old times. I heard stories of friends who had died, the concerts they enjoyed in the park, and the worries that were on their minds. I found an immediate bond with each everyone and was not surprised — after all, I’m my father’s daughter and I’m more like him than I’d like to admit. A friend of his is a friend of mine, no matter the age bracket they fall into. I tell you this story, so that while you have the chance, you too will make it a point to uncover who your parents were when they were young. Visit the places they visited. Stay in the places they lived. Talk to the friends that they made. Take a walk through your parents’ footsteps, so you can bring yourself closer — to them, and ultimately, yourself. The look into the past will help you continue down your own road, setting down a path for your own children to someday uncover.