As I grew up, I realized that I have two homes: two very different homes. One is in the city and one is in the country. I'm not really sure where to say "I live" because I spend proportionally more time in the city, but I'll always be from the country. Which is one thing I always hated. I always detested the plainness, the sameness of the country that never seemed to change. But it's weird the kind of perspective being away from it can give you.
Now that I'm in college, I have to pack up my whole life every couple of months. In August, I gather everything: school supplies, clothes, shoes, cleaning supplies, linens (and on and on) to move into my new dorm. In December, I pack up most of that so I can live for a month at home, which I pack up again in January to go to school, and then in May I pack up all of that because come August I'll have to do it all again.
It's weird to think that my life consists of a set of various boxes that I schlep from place to place, that everything I have collected over 19 years of life can be tightly packed into my mother's Jeep Cherokee for the next round of moving. That feeling instills in me a kind of nomad existence, an absence of belonging that I actually find pretty appealing and a bit eye-opening.
For example, having two homes gives me, what I think is, the best (and also worst) of both worlds. Like I said, I used to detest the country. It was too slow, too routine; I wanted to live in New York. I had to live in New York. I was sick of strip malls and super-market monopolies, I wanted quaint boutiques and farmers markets and people different than the same 100 kids I had gone to Kindergarten to.
But then I had New York. And everything that comes with New York: people, sounds, subways…everything that's not quiet. And it was good for a while until I started to miss everything that wasn't New York. I'm not used to going to school with people who don't know what street I live on or that I went through a very intense horse-stage in 3rd grade. And even though I hated that for a while, it didn't seem so bad in the face of unfamiliarity.
There was good, too. It was nice being around people who didn't know all those things about me, it was nice being just another face in the crowd. Not having people focused on me helped me focus more on myself. And I liked busy, I've always liked busy. I like knowing that someone is always awake, a train is always running. I've always been a night person, I've never liked slowing down.
But that didn't change the fact that sometimes I had to slow down. When you live without something, you realize how much you need it and how much it shaped you. This summer it was nice to be in the quiet, even though last summer I couldn't wait to escape it. I like having both worlds because I know that when it's time to work, I go where I need to go to thrive, and that's the city, where I can focus on myself and feel always in motion. I know when it's time to rest, I go where I need to go to be still. That's my home, where things are familiar, and life is a bit lazy.
I think that we always get what we need when we need it, and we don't let it help us until we realize we need it. I needed to grow up in a small town so that I would want to leave and see the world, but I needed to leave and see the world so that I could appreciate how the place I grew up in shaped me. I guess all I mean is that we shouldn't assume that what we have isn't what we need, and that where we are isn't where we're meant to be.