A year ago, I was sitting down to write something I couldn’t finish. It was a manifesto of sorts on moving home. I never thought I would move home after college, but here I am getting ready to do so. I never finished that essay. Never hit publish on it.
Weeks later, I’d be sitting in my capstone typing away at a transcript when I felt my chest collapsing in on itself. I felt my skin get tight. I needed to get out of my own body. I finished up my work as quickly as possible, packed up my things and told my professor I was sick and needed to go early. Minutes later I showed up in my best friend’s dorm room and said the words that were deep down inside me. The ones I’d been convincing myself to ignore: I can’t move home.
Home had been a way of searching of stability and safety. It was the escape route; one of the many plans I hatched when I felt stuck or unhappy rather than dealing with the situation at hand. I’d taken home as an answer because it was easier than doing the work to figure out what I actually wanted.
And now a year later, I haven’t moved home in the way I thought I would. Not to the home that means the place I grew up. In one way or another, I think I maybe have moved home in another sense. Finding comfort in a place that’s new but becoming more familiar with each day. I’m back at a job I once left. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, they say. They’re right. Sometimes you have to leave something you love to figure out what’s going on with you. It’s not you, it’s me – those words can be true. And you really can come back. Sometimes, you say words like this is temporary and I’ll come back and you wonder if they’re true. You’re scared they’re not. What a relief to be patient and discover that they are.
In the year that has passed, so much looks the same as the one prior but so much is different. I like the familiarity, but I’m relieved to see and be experiencing the growth and change of time.
In this moment, I know I unintentionally found the thing I had been seeking last year. I did it by throwing out the escape plans. I’ve attempted to shut down the section of my brain, that works to create those plans. Or at least I’ve gently learned to accept but kindly quiet it down. It’s still a part of me so I must understand her and know how to work with her.
I’m taking it all step by step. I’m learning to ask for what I need. I took the time off to go travel. I took the time off to be present for my loved ones. I took the time to tend to my body when it told me to. And before I really knew it, I realized the support system had formed, the home had been built, I was in the job I’d been chasing but this time felt like I fell into it. I even fell in love a little bit.
I get nervous to type those words. Especially when it’s early on, and you feel it so brightly and so intensely but there’s a piece that feels fragile. All of this is in process. Some pieces feel in the past, but it’s all active tense.
This year has come to me without a plan. It’s been the year of learning to go forward with a vision rather than written out instructions. It’s been a year of living in the gray. Right now I feel like I’m floating. It’s mostly peaceful, but there are still the moments when you close your eyes and realize maybe you’ve let go and there’s that flash of panic. It all comes and goes, but it’s rather beautiful. It’s so much fuller than before. It feels less like performing life and more like really living it.