Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wanderlust for Home


What makes a home?

  Are the days of staying in one's hometown for a lifetime, long gone?  It seems that the more we move, the more I meet other families who have also moved a lot and aren't living near any extended family members.  With modern transportation and technology, has the world become so accessible and small, that we are all becoming global citizens, thus making it simpler to make a home anywhere we'd like, and leaving behind the notion of "settling down" for the rest of our lives?

  When you've moved to four different states in 6 years, as we have, you get many questions from people like, "Why have you moved so much?" or "What is the appeal of moving around?"  And honestly, our only answer is that we like moving and exploring, and it has just worked out this way with jobs, so we've gone with the flow of whatever has felt right at any given time.  It has worked out so far that every two years, we uproot and move to a new state.  Before she was born, my husband and I moved from Boston to Tampa, Florida. After 2 years there, the month of kiddo's first birthday, we moved to Santa Cruz, California and 2 years later, the same month, we moved to Brooklyn, New York. Then 2 years later, we moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  Now as our 2 year mark once again approaches, we feel a sense of change in the air and an urge to move along.  It has felt this way each time, like an inner-knowing for both of us that something is about to happen and we are eager and excited for it, waiting for the next step "to reveal itself", almost as if we have no say in what is occurring.  We never know quite how it will work out, or where we are going to live exactly, except in Cambridge, where we were able to find a place before we moved. But each other place, we went with no home set up in advance. We just sort of winged it and dealt with house-hunting when we arrived.  I also had never even visited Santa Cruz before we moved there, and had only been to Brooklyn once, so it was all new to me, learning how to get around and trying to make friends and integrate into some sense of community.

  Looking back now, it definitely hasn't been easy becoming part of any of these communities or making all of these transitions, although I can say that Santa Cruz was the most welcoming for me, having joined a band, singing with the locals and also having the best neighbors move in next door, one month after us.  Having a child next door who was the same age as ours and her wonderful, hospitable parents who were always inviting us for dinners and cookouts and passing cake over the fence... it made that town become home so much faster than any other place has.  It was also the place that truly sparked my desire to learn more about holistic health, nutrition and sustainable living, with so much emphasis on these things in the local community.  Yet, no matter where we have gone, just being together, exploring and creating a homey space in each of our dwellings, has made each place a little haven for us to call home and welcome others into.  I'm realizing that, for me, relationships are a huge part of what make a place feel most like home- inviting others in.

  Also, recently learning more deeply that being at home within myself is what gives me a greater sense of belonging, comfort and peace, no matter where I am or what is happening around me. Knowing myself is home. When sitting alone, facing myself- flaws and all, becoming more mindful of the things that I'd like to accept or change and finding deeper awareness about who I am without a specific place, group of people or role that I fill in life. Just me on my own, in silence, at home with who I am, even my wonky or weak parts.

  After our circuitous route around the country with our now almost 7 year old child, I'm still not quite sure when you "know" that you've found the "right" spot to raise your kids and create a home that you decide to stay in forever.  What I do know is that we've been able to incorporate parts of our journey into various aspects of our lives, while learning a lot about ourselves and how to function smoothly as a family unit anywhere we go, making for a somewhat adventurous, bohemian lifestyle, which I am certainly okay with.