I often have to remind myself of how incredibly fortunate I am. I get so burdened by the things I think my life is missing that I lose sight of all of the incredible people, experiences, memories, opportunities, etc. that my life has awarded me. I could not be any luckier in my family – they love me unconditionally, they support me through everything, they are honest with me when I need a reality check, and they are always there with open arms when I need a hug. My chosen family is equally awesome. I don’t get to see my friends nearly as often as I would like because of my life on the road, a life that many of my friends also share. But they always feel close to me because I take them with me everywhere I go. I’ve also been so blessed in this career I’ve chosen for myself. It is never easy, I am in a fairly constant state of anxiety over getting work, making enough money, finding some way to balance a personal life with my crazy schedule, but I’ve been consistently getting better and better work, and I’ve been very happy with my career so far. I’ve been less fortunate in a love life, and that is one of those things that often blinds me to all of the other, incredibly positive, aspects of my life. But that’s another blog post for another time….
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “home”. After five years on the road, essentially living out of a car, and keeping my things in storage at my mom’s house in Atlanta, I’ve just this week bought a new car and signed a lease on an apartment in Milwaukee. I have been feeling this gaping hole in my life for a couple of years now – not having a home of my own, a place of refuge that’s all mine that I can always come back to. Of course, going home to my mom’s house has always felt good, but I desperately needed a place of my own. And I couldn’t think of anywhere else than Milwaukee that I’d rather make my home. After working here on and off for a total of about 18 months, I fell in love with the town, it’s people, and I have a great network of friends and colleagues all in Milwaukee. Even before this week, Milwaukee has felt more like “home” to me than anywhere else I’ve lived, even Atlanta where I grew up, or North Carolina, where I lived for 6 years.
At the same time that I am fulfilling a very large need of my mine and feeling great joy and hope at signing this lease, it also comes with a degree of sadness, even fear. Now that I am “putting down roots”, am I closing the door on some other opportunities that may come my way? Will I miss my vagabond life and feel trapped in my little one bedroom apartment? Will I see my friends all over this country even less now? Will I maybe miss out on the perfect guy for me if he doesn’t live in Milwaukee? My entire adult life has been fluid, constantly changing, always moving. New city every other month, new friends, new experiences. I don’t know what it is like to have a home or be anchored to one place. I am aching to find out, I am terrified by what I may find.
Through all of these hopes, fears, expectations, and anxieties, I have realized something important. Signing a lease does not take away the freedoms I have enjoyed these last several years. I will still be traveling for work, I will still be meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, seeing new places, going on new adventures. It is only a 12 month lease – I could move to 26 other cities before settling down for the long haul (although I really hope it’s not 26). And really, the most heartening thing I’ve felt through this, is the realization that if “home is where the heart is” – then my home is scattered all over the world. My home is in all of the hearts of my friends, my family, and even the people who only flew into my life for a brief, but unforgettable moment before moving on. My home is in all of the cities and places in this world that have touched me, shaped me, made me feel things I had never felt before, or gave me experiences I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I carry all of these people and all of these places with me, and therefore I am always home.