Roads Once Traveled


photo from jasoliv.blogspot

It was unexpected, the journey my soul took over what was a busy weekend for me.

Saturday’s plans had me in Kansas City North*, where I grew up. Between errands I seized the opportunity to drive the streets of my childhood neighborhood.

I was self-aware, cruising in my car that day. I thought, This is me driving these same roads I traversed countless times for years. It’s the same me in physical presence, and really so similar in spirit, despite many personal metamorphoses.

I took in the surroundings—laid tangibly around me and upon my heart—remembering people and experiences and life as it was then, comparing it to now. I happily recognized an overlap of two people at once: the girl I used to be, and the woman she has become. Both were renewed.

That day my inner self was delighted, and at peace. She said, “Hello, you, it’s good to be home,” and was comforted.

Sunday’s doings had me driving rural routes outside the city. They were roadways common to me in my early twenties, when I married and was transplanted. Again some deep part of me took notice, reconciling who I was then with who I am today.


photo from barbaragordonphotographyblog

Those roads were significant too, but in less joyful ways. Those roads are tied to a part of my life that came to mean more hurt and suffering than love and contentment. As I revisited those surroundings there was no comfort, no feeling of home, to be had.

On Sunday I drove as if, instead of laying down miles, I was laying down bits of regret, the years of me that I want to let go. And my inner self said, “Goodbye, you. It is well, you are done, no need to return. May you continue in peace.”

I covered a lot of ground last weekend, both literally and figuratively. I think I came full circle, forsaking one part of my spirit for another. For that I’m thankful.

What’s been your most recent experience with introspection and personal growth?

*Note: Kansas City North and North Kansas City are not interchangeable terms, though many people use one when they mean the other. Kansas City North (also called The Northland by locals) refers to the general northern region of the metropolis. North Kansas City is a suburb within KC North, its own town with an individual identity. Does it matter? Probably not. But I wanted to clarify anyway.

About Janna

Just another determined woman.

Posted on May 22, 2013, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wow, Janna, what a “trip”, literally. The closest thing to an introspective journey would be last summer when my family and I vacationed near Santa Barbara where I lived for eight years and graduated from U.C. way back when. My two kids were in the car and they could not have cared less (I think that’s the right way to say it, in other words they didn’t give a hooey about where mom lived in the dorms and went to school). It was weird for me to see where I “grew up” and I realize how very far I’ve come from where I thought I’d be today – in a good way, that is.

  2. Christy Hayes

    Introspection is such a healthy thing, Janna. I’m so glad you got the chance to look back, heal, and look forward. We moved a lot when I was little and it was always so jarring to return to my ‘homes’ with older eyes. I walked away from those visits with a whole new understanding of what used to be and what was now.

    • Janna Qualman

      I completely agree, Christy. Introspection is a key factor for living well, I think.

  3. What a great trip, Janna, and what a wonderful way to let go of the past. I’ve lived in the same area for my entire life, but my husband moved around a lot, so when we travel and look back, it’s usually through his eyes. 🙂

    • Janna Qualman

      That’s neat! It’s cool to be privy to something like that for one you’re close to.

%d bloggers like this: