Far Away, Home Sweet Home and a Permanent Vacation

At school today, I asked the kids to help decorate the room in Directed Studies. Since we are on blocked scheduling due to testing, I had them for double the time. So we made pictures.

We talked about who we were. I gave them a sheet filled with the prompt "I am" and they had to come up with as many words as they could to finish "I am." When I modeled examples, it hurt my insides.

"I am a teacher."
"I am a writer."
"I am married."
"I am from Michigan."
"I am a daughter."
"I am an aunt."
"I am a sister."

The kids silently (still not used to that) got to work right away. And I thought about my list and how far away it feels to be an aunt, a sister, a daughter, from Michigan.

Ever since my first bout of homesickness, it hasn't totally gone away. In the absence of a naive "permanent vacation" state of mine, there are now brand new feelings that are completely foreign.

I want a house, a baby and I want to grow beets in my garden.

Before moving, none of these things were in my five year plan and now, all of a sudden, I feel like I need all of these things at the same time. Right now. Or maybe even two days ago. Each day in Tahoe brings new challenges, from feeling like a spoiled ungrateful idiot that can't enjoy living ON Lake Tahoe because my heart feels torn, desperately wanting  to be back where I was born, to being blown away by new sights from new hikes, drives, adventures that makes the heart pain lessen and relaxes my brain that feels the knee-jerk reaction to analyze where in the world I belong and what in the world I'm supposed to be doing. Most days, I feel pretty crazy and crave some sort of direction to tell me where to go, what to do, or at least how to get to a place where I feel somewhat confident making a decision on the upcoming years.

Everyone says it gets better and tells me to enjoy my time. It's been easy until a job grounded me in a life here. All of the scary parts that weren't a part of my reality before moving have settled into my gut now, three months later. With 30 looming, so many things I thought I'd accomplish by now seem far away, or maybe not even possible. Will I ever feel at home in a place? Will we ever find a house we can afford? Will we ever find those careers that make us at least fulfilled and somewhat happy most of the time?

And then I read this:

5 Lies Every Twentysomething Needs to Stop Believing

(Okaaaaay, if you don't want to read it, I'll paraphrase it for you.)

Here's a lie:
I should be successful now.

"Success is not a sprint, it’s an Ironman marathon, and our twenties aren't really about running the actual race. No, our twenties are simply about building our endurance so that we can run the race in the future."
But this really resonated with me:
Life is Not Turning Out Like it Was Supposed To
"Well, kind of. Yes, life is not turning out like it was supposed to, but what the heck is supposed to? There is no supposed toSupposed to is a lie. Supposed to is built on the perception of someone else’s perceived success.

Live your life right now exactly as it is and do your best to keep moving forward into where you want to go. That’s what you’re supposed to do."

The dream of Tahoe was that everything was going to be perfect. Didn't happen. Instead, coming to Tahoe revealed everything I have been burying in work, a bloated social schedule, and forgetting to take time for myself. As drastic as it was, being here has showed me what I want and what I need. I want to be a writer and I want a family. The details of all of that are a bit maddening. Being a planner, I want to organize our future life: I want to see it, I want to meet my future son or daughter, I want to be a part of a life that we can settle into and it's hard to see any of that happening so far away from home. But instead of skipping to the end, pretending I have a crystal ball brain, my anxiety of being homesick is about  not being able to control the future. SO many things need to happen before we're able to even think about houses and babies and dogs and beet gardens, and things as important as making humans should be approached with as much patience as I can muster.

Being in a perfect place doesn't make everything perfect. Your problems morph into new ones and if you don't figure it out, you'll end up bouncing around the universe trying to figure out why a place doesn't provide you with perfection. So instead of focusing so much on loving where I am physically, I think it's also time to start enjoying where I am in my life. I am 29, I'm healthy, I'm in love with a man who is not only kind, funny, smart, genuine and loves Oatmeal but he's also as handsome as they come, I get to see him every single day, I get to laugh til my stomach hurts when we're driving home from dinner on Saturday nights, I have a job I don't hate, I have mountains involved in my daily commute, I get to go to the beach while doing laundry, I have an amazing apartment, I'm somehow able to afford this life easily and I have so much road ahead of me. So many things are unwritten and possibilities abound. There is going to be a point in our lives where we may not be able to say that anymore.

I miss so many things. I miss belonging to a state, I miss people knowing where in the world Toledo, Ohio is, I miss people understanding why I show the world where I'm from on the back of my left hand. But the best thing about being from a place is that, although it may change, it never moves. It'll always be there. At least I still know my way home. At least I still have that.