Friday, May 29, 2009


I moved 15 times in the five years I was in college, then my 16th move was back home. I went home looking at my old neighborhood with new eyes, wondering if I was indeed home again. I walked around the town center as an adult, not a teenager, but I still tried to look cool, lighting up a cigarette as I slowly leaned out of my car and curved my body in a suggestive manner to bump the door with my hip while my eyes dart back and forth behind sun glasses to see if anyone was watching. I saunter into the WalMart and head straight to the end counter like I own the place and ask for a box of yellow American Spirits. Then I smile a satisfactory grin as I maneuver my pointer finger around the pudgy cashier to point to the box of yellow American Spirits right behind her and sarcastically nod my head when she apologizes for not knowing that they had that brand.

I don't know what this is, but I feel as if everyone around me, even the causal bystander at the grocery store should know that I'm not from around here, or at least I'm not recently from around here. I don't know what it is, but I feel like I look and act like someone who is not from around here and everyone knows it, but I doubt anyone even takes a second look because now I'm older and I know what it feels like to live life as an adult. I walk into the drug store now and I don't even begin to notice the other people there. I'm always thinking about the next thing I have to do that I can't tell you if the person standing in front of me is recently returned from somewhere because I don't understand why I just got paid and only have $300 left in the bank. But perhaps it's a right of passage. It's an awesome feeling to have gone away to accomplish something and then come back home.

Being home was like striking the perfect balance between completely carefree, loving every minute of life and tasting sweetness tickle and tease my lips only to leave behind the bitterness because I knew that the end of something special was near. It is in moments like these that I enjoy life completely and wish I could be in that moment forever. But as moments go, they're always fleeting. I also know that I can't be in this place forever and I am just stopping by to figure out where my next stop will be.

I moved for a 17th time with my parents to the place that I know will be there home for the rest of their lives. It was fun getting settled into a new place with them. I was excited to venture into a new space and walk up different stairs and smoke in a smaller, cleaner backyard. I remember the first time I had a meal in that house, it was with my father as we sat on lawn chairs and balanced plastic containers in our lap as we ate take out and rocked out to Jack Johnson's latest CD. I always think back to that night whenever I hear the twangy bass drop and the mellow voice ask where'd all the good people go and I smile to myself and sometimes even tear up as I remember with fondness sitting there with my father in his new home knowing that it would not be mine forever. I was happy that my parents found their house; a house that they could make their own, it was then that I knew I could leave. I came home with a new found responsibility for my parents because I was now an adult, but they were all grown up and it was time to let them spread their wings, so I left.

I moved for an 18th time to a different state into a place I never felt comfortable in but always found comfort in and felt that I finally had a home of my own. But it was also a place where I always fantasized about living somewhere else. I would find myself spending hours on craigslist as I looked at available places and imagine what it would be like to live there and how I would go about my daily routine in that neighborhood. I would stay awake at night and picture what my place would look like if there were stair that went up to an open second floor loft instead of the narrow hallway leading to the bathroom. I would also picture scenarios of what my life would be like alone in the event that when I moved my relationship would move apart with me. When I could not picture my life any longer, I moved for a 19th time. I bought a house, a brand new never before lived in eco friendly, a little trendy, but very homey condo and I brought my relationship with me. It combines everything I've been searching for ever since I left home 10 years ago. It's clean and secure so I don't have to work about bugs sneaking in. It's in a very walkable neighbor which makes my life easier since I don't have a car. It displays all the elements of interior decor to make me feel like I'm in my mother's house but I can leave things in a mess whenever I want to because it is my house. It is my home and I'm creating a life for myself here. It may not have a yard, and I may share a wall and a ceiling with a neighbor, but I finally feel comfortable living here as well as finding comfort in it. I never look at craigslist and never imagine my home with renovations in my head. I walk in the door at the end of the day and know the 20th move is years away because I am finally home.


Mia Dickinson said...

Ive moved 25 times in the last 5 years. One of them abroad, I felt exactly the same way you did when I moved back to London from Barcelona. Even though Ive lived in London my whole life, apart from 10 months where I was in Spain, I still go around telling people Im from Barcelona.

It makes me feel like Ive achieved something they havent. When I moved back, I felt lost and confused, like I was moving backwards but again youre completely right, living with your parents is only a pit stop.

My only problem is...where do I go next. Stay in London or move back to Barcelona! x

M.J. said...

I moved around a lot too, before I bought my house in Baltimore last year. Being a homeowner is awesome, I have never had a place I live feel so much like an actual home before. I love inviting friends and loved ones over, and I feel such a sense of pride when I do projects around the house. This is mine. My home. I like my neighborhood and feel like it's my responsibility to make sure it's a nice place to be. I have plans to get involved in local associations and become a "block-leader" through a city-wide neighborhood beautification project. I won't stay here forever, but it's nice to finally feel at home, at least for a while.

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