I’ve been in my new house for just over a week now and it still feels so surreal. What feels even more out of this world is that I have pictures on the walls, plants situated just so, my mantle decorated, and a TV just waiting to be hung. This house is starting to feel like a home. For me, that’s a big deal. I spent my entire childhood moving from place to place because my dad was in the Coast Guard. Even once I was grown and living life on my own, I continued the trend of house/apartment hopping, in part because life just unfolded that way and in part because I knew no other way to be.
When I was a little girl, I was so envious of the people who grew up in the same house from the day they were born until they went off to college, then bringing their own families back to their childhood home. Now, I see it a little differently. I’m grateful for all the moving I’ve done — 11 states, 37 different houses. It has given me a unique perspective that allows me to assimilate quickly into a multitude of environments, shapeshifting from one scenario to another without much thought.
It hasn’t been all positive, of course. I’ve long felt a sense of impermanence that manifested not just in my living arrangements but in my attachment to people, too. Making new friends is easy and difficult at the same time — I can connect with just about anyone, whether they’re the CEO of a billion dollar company or a homeless man on the street. But I also struggle with going deep at times, because my whole life has been lived with bated breath, wondering when my dad would get orders to his next duty station. Why bother getting close to someone if you know you’ll never see them again?
Even as an adult, that feeling of transition hasn’t subsided. I’m ending my second marriage and, while I’ll admit that there are layers of issues that led up to this, I’ll also share that I’ve realized that I give up really easily on relationships because not many in my life have stood the test of 3,000 miles and time. There are exceptions — Jenny, Ashley F., Ashley G., Mika — but they aren’t the norm. More often than not, I easily let people drift out of my life without much motivation to work on bridging whatever gaps lie between us. Why bother doing the work when you’ll probably never see them again? Everything and everyone is temporary.
This isn’t the first home I’ve bought but it’s the first place that feels like it will truly be my forever home. As I hang photos and painstakingly scroll Pinterest for the perfect dining room table, I’m also healing the part of me that has been forever in liminal space. I didn’t choose this home because I love the dark cabinets (though I do) or because I wanted a garage (though I did); I chose this home because it’s on a cul-de-sac, in a friendly, safe neighborhood where I can see Journey and potential future children playing, building memories, making a life. I can see myself growing old here, planting a vegetable garden, grieving losses, and celebrating wins.
It’s truly the first time in my 30 years on this planet that I’ve ever felt so rooted. A feeling I fought tooth and nail against and now am relieved to have found. As I hang my first ever art purchase on my living room wall, I finally feel at home. Home, sweet home, at last.