Longing to Belong and Dreamscapes of Dogs

I've got it down to a science. Every three months, I get a bad bout of homesickness and start dreaming about owning a Michigan farm.

It is quite possible that even at age 19 I was a bit more certain about what's ahead of me. Or at least I had an illusion of being certain. Here, where the horizon boasts these giant mountains that dwarf me and my plans, the only certainty I have is that the road ahead is completely blank. And it may not even be a road. I've given this year to myself as a gift, trying my best to live for today, completely against my instinctual urge to plan out every second like I have done for 29 years. Some days I rock it. Other days, there are these new feelings that haunt me, pleasantly, every three months or so. I want a beet farm and a baby and a medium sized dog friend. I get excited about these three things until I realize that I'm far from home and the only person I want to teach me how to grow beets is my dad. And then the homesickness crashes into me, unwelcomed and throwing off my happy routine of meal planning, exercise and meditation. I turn into a mush of sadness and start looking for higher ed jobs in the U.P.

Let's talk about all the other moments living in Homewood. On our long hikes through some of the most beautiful land I've ever seen, we float along edges of mountains and idly chat about selling it all off, buying a Vanagon and hopping around the country following Paul's seasonal work life while I write from our home on wheels. We talk about a cabin in the woods not too far from here, but far enough away from the tourons and cidiots that clog the only road to drive on. But when we both get sad,  when babies get born and all the Thanksgiving commercials taunt us into sentimentalism, we always start building our dreamscape around dogs and babies and farms: in Michigan. And it drives me crazy.

It's much more complicated than a pro-con list, but California, this life, these moments that I get to live, has made me happier than I have ever ever been. I have the least amount of anxiety and depression since I can't remember. I've lost 2 dress sizes. I literally have zero stress. I SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. This life is near-perfect.  So much so that if I had a map of the U.S., I would just cut out Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada and glue the midwest at least 8 hours away. Then this whole life could be sustained. We could live here where people are patient and let me be strange and let me keep my maiden name without judgement and not ask me how much money I make or put a nose up at the fact that I'm still renting after being married for 3 years and nearing 30.There is a do what you want attitude here that I've been craving my whole life. There are mountains and a commitment to bettering yourself, even if that means you only work 40 hours because that's what you want to do and it's more important to have fun NOW instead of waiting for retirement or on vacation. That is how it is. Except I miss my dad so much that I try not to think about it.

What do you do with that? How do you rationalize waking up to loving everything and realizing it can't be forever because your family isn't here? Is there a place that can give me the same peace of mind, freedom, nature, wide open space and still be within driving distance to Thanksgiving at the farm?

That's all I want. I just want a place that feels like home. And although Tahoe is amazing and beautiful and somewhere I never want to leave, it's lonely without my family to see it. And that means these are growing pains and it gets better, or I'm going to have to figure out how to make everyone live in the same magic place, somehow. 

In the meantime, we are off to making a dreamscape of pictures, words and phrases of our ideal place to live, except we can't use any terms to describe specific states. Just descriptions of dreams. A big dog named Linus Larrabee. A fireplace. Near some sort of water. Enough room to grow veggies for Oatmeal and our smoothies. Space for guests. A firepit. A garage to work on an old beat-up farm truck. 

Someday. Somewhere. For now, I'm going to enjoy my inner peace, sunshine, low blood pressure and a sense of adventure I may be getting addicted to. Stay tuned.