The first thing I ever wrote about on this blog was Home. It seemed appropriate, for a number of reasons. I had recently moved to a new place and was learning all the ways it takes to actually settle into an entirely new environment. At the same time, I was stepping into another new place. This blog, and with it dreams, aspirations and challenges.
A year ago, I wrote about Home again, and, again, it seemed appropriate, this time for reasons I could never have even guessed. I felt like I was still trying to find my feet in that place, and I was confident I was on the verge of something. I was, but not what I thought. Two months later, I was out of there. On to a new place and new challenges and, oh, so much baggage.
And here I am again, writing on this subject that I am, again, learning is so much bigger and deeper and stranger than I ever thought. Again I am in a new place. Again I am stepping into new challenges. In many ways it feels the same, but I know it’s different.
This past weekend was my birthday. To celebrate, my parents came into town. They had helped me move only 6 or so weeks ago, so it wasn’t like they’d been away for very long, but it was still very nice and very needed for all of us.
2017 has already been, well, a hell of a year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon. For my family, in particular, it is going to be very interesting because, by the end of it, none of us will be in the same place we were at the start of it.
My sister got married in June and moved to El Paso.
My Dad retired this summer and my parents are moving to Ukraine in September.
My brother is moving his family to Alaska in October.
And I’m here.
There was a time when we all lived within driving distance of each other, and, now, we’re not even going to be in the same time zones. Home, it seems, is something every one of us is going to have to work out.
I know it’s something I’m going to have to. Like I said, this feels very familiar. New city. New place to live. New dreams. New challenges. I’ve been here before, and there’s a part of me ready to be worried about that. I can feel it, when I wake up in the morning. There’s a version of me ready to panic like it’s Atlanta all over again. And yet there’s another part.
I’ve been here before. I’ve moved across the country, without a place to stay or job. And yet, already, I’m doing miles better than I was even a year ago. I have a job, a good one. I have a place to stay, a good one. But that’s not the reason I haven’t panicked yet, or why I don’t think I will.
I have been here before. But I’m not me anymore. I’m not who I was the first time I went through this because I went through this already. I’ve changed, and that means, no matter how familiar, this won’t be the same, which gives me hope. Because it means it doesn’t have to end the same way.
My parents came to visit, so, of course, I had to show them the city, which was a little hard because I’m only just discovering it myself. But I had some help. And it ended up being one of the best birthdays I’ve had in as long as I can remember. And it wasn’t because of any one thing, though there was a lot of good stuff. It was me.
I don’t know when exactly it hit me. Maybe at dinner on Friday night, at a table with people I really love, sharing a really good dessert. Maybe it was Saturday afternoon when I got to show my parents the best burger in town, which, coincidentally, is only a block from my apartment. Then again, maybe it was today, when I got my first taste of “Lake Life” and finally understood what everyone was talking about. Maybe it was all of it. Maybe this weekend was just a constant reminder of something I had been feeling since I got here but didn’t want to voice because it felt too soon;, it felt like jinxing it. But when I was walking across the Stone Arch Bridge and looking out at St. Anthony Falls, with a belly full of Izzy’s Ice Cream, (both a recommendation from the best person I know), I felt it.
And even as I say that, I know it was just as much what I didn’t feel. What I’ve felt too often over the past few years. The sinking feeling that if I don’t keep clawing my way through, this place was going to reject me, that my feet didn’t belong where I was standing. I didn’t feel that at all.
Instead I felt something I was almost sure I had lost, never to be found again. It was an inkling, after all I had only just started, but behind it was the hope, the assurance, that it was there. A seed, even now, pushing up through the dirt, ready to sprout at any moment.
The feeling that I was Home.
In a place I could call Home.
With people who wanted me there.
And I didn’t have to fight for it. I had it already, and, if I wanted, it could be truer everyday.
It’s only starting, of course. Even now, that other part of me is warning caution. I’ve been burned before.
But already I feel like I’ve turned a corner. Before even now. This weekend was just a good time to finally realize.
For however long. For now. I’m home.