Home Is Wherever You Are
I am sitting in the Denver airport, drinking an outrageously overpriced glass of wine. This past week involved a last-minute surprise trip to see one of my besties on her birthday, a date I always seem to royally screw up because I always think it’s later in the month. I decided to get it right this year and surprise her on her actual birthday instead of sending her a three-week-late “Happy Birthday!” text like I normally do (regretfully admitting my chronic lack of an ability to pay attention). She cried, and then I cried, and I am just really inspired after my short three-day visit. I stayed at my other bestie’s place, and it was so relaxing because it’s familiar and I love them so much. I also had a little bit of time to see a few other people that I love dearly, and it’s all a little nostalgic to be back in Colorado where I used to live. I feel a great sense of joy when I get to see my best friends’ kids: Jack, Johnny, & Constantin, and the two little babes that are growing right now. By next year, I’ll have five munchkins to snuggle on, and I am so grateful to be included in their lives.
I lived in Colorado Springs for six years, and I was fortunate to build a nice life that was rich with friends who became family. I am even more fortunate that they still tolerate me. Moving away from my “home” in Colorado was tough because it was the first time in my life that I had such strong relationships outside of my childhood friends and family. I’ve been back in the midwest for a little more than 2 years, and I still miss Colorado at times, even though I now own a home with Mac and I’m closer to my family.
This trip was different. The past three times I’ve gone back to Colorado to visit, I left feeling like I forgot a big piece of my life behind again. I daydreamed about returning under different circumstances that would allow me to afford the lifestyle I’d want (hiking, brunching, and brewery-hopping without having to worry about being a slave to work). All because I had no idea about what having a “home” really means.
It’s not that I don’t ever want to go back or retire there or buy a vacation property someday, but I was really naive to think that when you have to move unexpectedly, you lose your home. My home is the friendships I have with the people I love, no matter where we live or how often we see each other. My home spans from coast to coast, and even a little bit in Europe. I finally realized that this week.
I feel at home when I’m sitting on the couch with Mac and Archie, when I’m shopping for antiques with my mom, when I’m strategizing new things with my brother, when I’m closing up the shop after a long (and hairy) day, and when I tuck myself in at night and try to sleep on the 6 inches of mattress space that Archie leaves for me. I feel at home when I’m with my friends, laughing until we cry or sharing intimate details about our lives with each other. I feel at home when I’m learning new skills, reading about new things, or getting to know someone for the first time. I felt at home in the infusion room, hanging out with my dad during chemo treatments and laughing so hard while playing this brain games game I bought for us. Who knew chemo brain would be something we could giggle at together? I feel at home when I stop to really “feel”, wherever I may be.
If you place too much importance on your location and not enough importance on the quality of your life, you lose sight of the fact that you make your home wherever you choose, with whomever you choose. And at the end of our lives, we hope to be at home with everything we have built during our time on earth - our friendships, our careers, our love stories, our heartaches, and our own selves.
Don’t be too hard on yourself about “where” you are in life. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.