Home is the Last Place You Dropped Your Luggage.
I think I’ve figured out what my problem is.
At least part of it.
And it’s so painfully obvious, I can’t believe I’m only just now coming to this realization over my morning coffee as the pups gnaw away on their bones.
Because this is something that’s been gnawing on my bones for over a year. Probably longer. And it’s really not until we get down to the marrow of things that my issues become clear.
It’s not this place I have a problem with.
Well I do, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that I’ve been in this place too long. See, until this place, I hadn’t lived in any one place for more than 2 years for the past 10 years. Even if I stayed in the same town, I at least changed residences. Sometimes the moves have been circumstantial. Sometimes just because I wanted change. Sometimes because the military made me, once I got married. Sometimes because adventure awaited.
Then, when we moved to North Carolina, we knew we were going to be here for at least 4 years — a certainty that’s rare in military life. So we thought we’d take advantage by buying a small home. A chance to feel a sense of permanence. Of belonging to a community and calling it “home,” rather than simply a place to rest.
It never occurred to me that I might be bad at it —
That 4 years could pass, I’d open my eyes and realize I’d never even tried. That I don’t know this place like I should. I don’t know the people.
Instead, I was counting down. Wasting 4 years because I wanted to be somewhere else.
I wanted to move, people! To me, the world becomes alive when we’re forced to change scenes and meet new characters. Explore different radio stations. Get lost on unknown streets. Discover hidden coffee houses and cafes and consignment shops. Become a stranger in a bar.
It’s no secret that I love to travel. And moving is just travel with everything you own. Which isn’t much, when you move frequently.
But now I have all this stuff. This stuff I’ve been accumulating for 4 years and I think that every thing that we buy also takes up residence inside my head — a bit of retail space otherwise reserved for calmness and peace gets replaced with “There’s a sale at Bath and Bodyworks?” and “Will I ever be able to find a window treatment to fully cover that bedroom window?”
And now, I’m told, we will be here a while longer. Two years, maybe a lifetime.
And I know now that I can’t do what I did before. Before I was just telling myself — consoling myself — saying, Don’t worry. You’re still young. You still have plenty of time to figure things out.
And then I blinked.
And I realized…
And now I really don’t have plenty of time.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should probably try blinking.
Or not, because then you might realize how much time has passed. How many birthdays you’ve experienced here with really no one to celebrate. How many people you spent time not getting to know. How many southern vinegar barbecue places you haven’t discovered and how many times you haven’t experienced the foreign taste of the word y’all on your tongue.
There were things to do and see, but in your head, you had already moved on. To someplace better, you thought. A quaint seaside village in California. A Mountain town in Colorado. A northeastern city with ethnic restaurants and fall leaves and lobster rolls.
But that’s no guarantee.
And it hits you, all backhanded and rough, maybe with rings on the knuckles with pointy prongs and solid gemstones, that it’s no guarantee. That the next place might not be “home,” either.
And then what?
You’ll let another 2 years pass unnoticed?
Enough. I’ve finally figured out that if home is only where the heart is, we might not ever get there. And that, to me, is unacceptable.
Home is where I make it.
This place has things to offer. I just need to find them.
How about you? Whether you’ve lived somewhere 10 months or 10 years, how do you go about keeping the place interesting?
I love this post. Let’s hang out soon so you can get to know me and I can hear you say y’all!!
Dude, it sounds SO awkward when I say it. You might die laughing. :)
I awarded you the Versatile Blogger award. http://mairedubhtx.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/versatile-blogger/
Thank you!! I am honored! Finally, my LIfe ADD is paying off. ;)
I love this post. I’ve done this many times.
This is why I love blogging — it validates my bad behavior. :)
I keep looking for different things to do in the community. I don’t stick with a particular group or organization, especially small ones. I take lots of different classes and go on outings to discover the places nearby. I keep busy learning about my city. I live in a very large city so it’s fairly easy to do.
I’m so envious of your large city! I think I’ve wanted to live in/near larger city for so long now that I’ve forgotten that smaller cities have great places to explore as well. The ironic thing is I just have to dig a little deeper — especially past my own preconceptions. ;)
Oh, and I just saw I got pre-empted on giving you a Versatile Blogger Award. Darn it!
(Go here to claim: http://myonepreciouslife.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/tickled-pink/#more-2363 )
Oh well, I guess you’ve got two. Maybe you should build a trophy room. Maybe home isn’t where the heart is. Maybe it’s where the trophy’s are.
Aw, TWO! I’m seriously so flattered. It looks like my niche really is Jack of all Trades!
Trophy room! Why didn’t I think of this before?? Maybe because I didn’t have any trophies? But that little problem has just been blown out of the water. TROPHY ROOM is what I will do with my office. Genius.
The way I think personally just have a roof over your head is just that a roof and location is just the place where that roof is. I have lived in various places in my own province, I have moved lived and worked in another country, I have also lived on the water when I worked on cruise ships.
My definitions of a home that i am still waiting to achieve would be who was waiting for me there if there was someone I would not care if it was a cardboard box on the street or a luxury mansion in the best part of town. Home and location Is not about points on a map for me.
This song is the best to describe what i am taking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnVLydmS4PY
You’ve worked on cruise ships?? That is so cool! I totally thought about doing that when I was on my hiatus from college. Then I met my husband and got sidetracked.
I’m at work but I will definitely check out that video when I get home!
And don’t worry… I think you’ll get home soon enough. :)
To answer your question, I’ve lived the same place my whole life. I went to a city 2 hours away for college, but actually graduated early because I felt like it was a place that I didn’t belong. Now, I’m back in my hometown feeling like I haven’t seen the world at all, and I’m itching to.
I can relate for the desire to want to travel and experience new life. I just have yet to have the courage to do it. But I’m making steps toward it. Right now, I’m trying to look for sides of my hometown that I don’t know, places I swore I’d never go, looking up websites for underground clubs and shows and restaurants that I have yet to experience. I want to fully know this city before I leave it, which I think I will be doing in the next year.
On a personal note: To me right now, life is an open book and I have to try and figure out where it’s taking me. Since I’m a planner, that’s increadibly difficult, and my boyfriend keeps telling me I need to “go with the flow” a bit more. Regardless, (and pardon the mini rant), I know that I’ll see everything that I want to see because I want it for myself. I’ll do everything in my power to experience life, because I want to know the world. There’s so much learning I have to do, and I’m still young (I’m 22).
My grandmother was a worldly person, she loved traveling and living life. Up until she got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she had a convertable and was one of the most lively people I have known in my entire life. I aspite to be like her, live with my whole heart, experience the world. There’s still a lot out there for me, and I suspect for you too! We just have to trust that the wind will blow us in the right direction, and be thankful for the experiences we’ve had, and have yet to live.
I think it’s fantastic that you had a role model in your life like your grandmother. While there’s nothing wrong with staying home, I feel like people who never see that there’s more in the world are missing out. There are so many different things to experience — different kinds of food to eat, different drinks to try, music to hear — you might discover a whole new way of living that never even occurred to you but just makes sense. Worst case scenario? Exploration will make you appreciate home even more. That doesn’t seem like a terrible thing. ;)
When they say you can’t go home again, they’re not talking in the literal sense — they’re saying that experience and travel changes you — that you won’t be the same person upon your return, and inevitably, home will be just a little bit smaller. There’s nothing wrong with being a planner. Just remember that you’ll be surprised to see that you can’t plan for everything. That there’s no way to know what’s ahead, especially if you travel or move to a new and exciting place. So trying to plan too much could drive you a little nuts.
I hope you take cue from your grandmother and see what there is to see while you still have the means to do it. You CAN always go home again — you just might not want to. :)
Wow, Katie. It’s amazing how you are going through so many of the same things I am. I’ve been feeling really stir crazy in Richmond too. Growing up, we moved every couple of years. I’ve been in the Richmond area longer than anywhere in my life. I feel really antsy for something new… but I also don’t want to leave my family. It’s a tough spot. Sometimes I wish my background was to stay in one place all my life, because I wouldn’t be struggling with this feeling.
Nothing is ever permanent, Catherine. :) If something inside is telling you to go — that you need something new — go for it! If you leave and discover you can’t stand being so far from your family, at least you’ll know. At least you’ll have seen whether you could start a new life for yourself — all on your own (which I’m positive you can). Will you love it or not? The only way to find out is to just do it. :) I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for you!!
First of all, shut it about turning 29, you. Second, LOVED this post! It’s *beautifully* written and perfectly describes what’s in my head — except, in our case, we’ve moved so often over the past few years that I haven’t even had time to unpack our napkin rings and organize my spices–let alone get sick of a place–before we were loading up and schlepping our shizzle elsewhere, living out of the few boxes of essentials we bothered to unpack… It’s a double-edged sword, getting what you want, because all I know is this week I tore around the house opening up every single box that’s been in storage for the past two years and completely losing my mind over our old pots and pans and photo albums and exercise equipment (seriously) like I’d just been reacquainted with long-lost relatives. I’ve come to the conclusion that travel and adventure and new experiences are awesome, but made all the sweeter when you’ve got some constant (be it person, place, or thing) to anchor to. (Haha, did I just sound like that LOST episode?) Anyhoo, for me, it’s good to be ‘home’ — if for no other reason than one’s house is an open catalog of the full, rich contents of a life, and otherwise I’d forget far too much of mine.
I’m so happy for you both that you finally found a place to settle and call home! And honestly, just because you now have a home base, I don’t see you being any less adventurous. Not in the slightest. And I can’t wait to see your new place!!
And I never watched LOST, so you’re good. ;)