Home is where the heart is, but where exactly is that heart when it hasn't had a permanent home in almost a year?
This past year I have lived in four separate living arrangements -- my childhood home on Cape Cod, a somewhat dingy apartment in Amherst, a rustic walkup in Italy and a loft above a fitness center on Martha's Vineyard. I grew accustomed to cooking in each kitchen, hangin' out in each living room and collapsing into each bed at the end of the night. It feels as though my heart has been uprooted from the four places that I have been able to call home. I have learned to create a sort of conscious love -- a no-strings-attached affection for each living space. I want so badly for each new abode to give me the cozy comfort of a "home" rather than a temporary arrangement, but is loving and losing a place better than not loving at all?
In six days I will be moving into my fifth place in nine months, and it's going to be a tough one to not fall in love with. With its baby blue exterior and honeysuckle trim, this hundred year old Victorian dream home is a Western Massachusetts treasure. A farmers porch wraps around the life-sized dollhouse as its bay windows point to rolling hills and evergreen mountains. I am thrilled to be spending my senior year in this home, and yet I find myself already preparing to say goodbye.
Every now and again I crave the comfort of waking up to the sound of my mom brewing coffee and my dad crinkling his newspaper. I even dream about taking a break from the constant changes I am enduring and move back home for a little while. However, learning to find peace in temporary living arrangements can be a blessing in disguise; I have learned to embrace independence as I prepare myself for a lifetime of change, and in doing so I feel myself maturing out of my primary Cape Cod home.
College seniors throughout the country are currently living through what could be the strangest periods of their lives. On the one hand, we are still being spoon-fed by the universities and institutions that have cradled us throughout our first few years. However, we are also learning how to manage a household, pay various bills, and build credit by living in apartments or homes away from home. We are building a base of life skills that is ultimately going to soften the hurricane-force winds that the 'real world' is capable of, and I feel pretty bad-ass because of it.
You know the old saying, "Love the one you're with," -- I am learning to love the place that I am living in while I can.
I think back on this year and feel proud that I can say I only slept in "my room" no more than five times since January. Even though I am still struggling to figure out where my heart lies within these temporary homes, I would not give up the experiences I had in these places for anything.