I’ve been thinking a lot about concepts of home lately. Initially, these thoughts were prompted by my recent return to my alma mater for, yes, Homecoming. It was nice to be back and to laugh and reminisce with some old friends. On the one hand, so many things seemed the same. I ran into many of the same people I might have a few years ago, I ate many of the same menu items from the same places, had the same beers at the same bars. And something about that familiarity was really calming, really assuring in a way so many traditions are. It’s nice to know you can travel the world and come back to a place that kinda still feels like home.
There were a few new things. A trashy, rundown motel that I thought would be there forever is now a shiny new building, a seemingly neverending construction project is not only complete but now seems to attract many in the community for dinner, coffee, and conversation. My friends’ lives are not the same. They have moved out and on, they have dogs and houses and husbands. Recently, many have moved in together; a number have just passed the bar; some have “life partners.” None are living the undergrad life. It’s a happy thing to see.
I went back to my old house, where almost all of my furniture and where a fair amount of my other stuff is stored. It feels like a long time since I’ve had a place that felt like my space, my home. In the short time I had on Sunday afternoon, I uncovered a box of photographs, rescued my papasan chair as a (home)base for my current semi-voracious reading schedule, threw some things away I didn’t have any clue why I still had. I was, as I sometimes am, a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated. But I was also reenergized about recreating a new “me” space in the future. I have been hit hard by my overdeveloped nesting instinct lately.
I find I am so often torn between an escalating wanderlust and a yearning to be settled in somewhere. Funny how these urges are sometimes hard to reconcile.
I’ve been asked a lot why I’m not looking for jobs in my home state, and driving back to my hometown, I couldn’t help but be awed by the trees, just now starting to burst into varying shades of flame. I love the changing geography of Highway 200, the hills after Lincoln and before Simms. I have witnessed so many beautiful sunsets on that road, so many golden fields and cobalt skies before it rains.
Driving into my hometown, I noticed that my feelings have changed. I used to come home from college and feel some déjà vu, but pulling off the highway no longer made me feel like I was coming home. Home was where I lived full-time. Now, I feel much the same driving into both cities, as neither are really MY places. I am moving around boxes and sleeping on fold-out couches in one city, living out of suitcases and sleeping in a room that seems to be frozen in about 1999 in another. I guess it’s another aspect of that weird in-between.
In the interim, I’m still waiting on my IKEA catalog and, due to expiring frequent flier miles, I’ve just reupped all of my magazine subscriptions. It’s funny how they speak to this desire both to go everywhere and be in just one place: among others, Budget Travel and Domino. I’ll fantasize about sitting in design-y chairs in my new place while fantasizing about far-off locales. Actually, I’ll be in my papasan chair in the basement reading magazines. And, at least for now, that’s OK.
I’m gearing up for a new adventure.