I ended last week talking about how much I enjoy traveling to any destination beyond my own familiar surroundings. I talked about how much I loathe thinking of living in one exact spot for the rest of my days, not taking every moment I could to leave for somewhere new.
With all of that said, I do find value in calling somewhere or something my own. Having a place of peace and solitude to fall back on, where I can be completely myself unapologetically.
Tomorrow I will be going home for Thanksgiving. Usually I just call my hometown’s name by the name itself because it’s never been somewhere I really felt like staying. That’s not an uncommon thing during those younger years when all you know is a single place to just want to start somewhere completely different and never look back. That’s still an urge I get. To go where I know nobody and nobody knows me. I can just live.
See, I’ve always lived in the same town up until college. I had always hoped my family and I would move at some point, but we never did. It’s not the smallest town ever, but small enough that basically everyone knows each other and their business. If something happened out of the ordinary, be prepared to have everybody asking questions. Almost like this unpenetrable bubble surrounding the place.
I also just have lots of negative energy whenever I come back to visit. It feels like a switch goes off and my time spent growing up floods back to the forefront. Some of it was awful. I really didn’t like who I was when I lived there. Obviously I can’t blame one factor entirely, and I’m some special case, but I can’t help but admit that rather than a sense of belonging as I drive back on those city streets, I feel indifferent. Usually with a lot of road rage.
The only reason I ever go back to that town is because my family is there. I spent this entire past summer away from the place, confirming my thoughts about the place. But that first experience on my own helped me see things from a new perspective.
Despite my distaste for my hometown, it wasn’t a bad place to grow up. It was safe. There’s comfort in knowing that whatever you’re doing, you won’t be alone or won’t know anybody. It’s a town people raise their kids in, and I can respect that.
But I also realized that the least important part of my hometown is the town itself. The environment is not to my liking and most of the population loves their steak and guns. That doesn’t mean I’ve met some wonderful people growing up that I still like to stay updated on. Or that I didn’t make some wonderful memories. Or that I didn’t learn anything significant while living there. Or that I didn’t have the wonderful resource of my family always by my side. Home is so much more than a place. It’s even necessarily a place at all. It’s whatever brings you that warm fuzzy feeling, from the people you love and the things you love to do. The times where you don’t want to be anywhere else but in that very moment.
I can relate to those people who maybe doubt whether they have a home or not, whether they belong anywhere, if a home actually exists for them. It’s scary. Out of place and out of touch with yourself and the world. That’s why it’s so important to cherish everything you consider home in the present moment. Homes are evolving, plans change and people come and go. But it’s those things that remain stagnant, where you can always find support and relief, that deserve gratitude.
Besides my metaphors, I am grateful for a secure shelter to stay in whenever I need it and people to fall back on. Thinking of people on the streets without that security, my heart goes out to them. I have always had this luxury and wouldn’t know what I would do without it. Especially in this time of giving and good will, expressing gratitude is also a reminder of those in need. Everybody deserves a place, people, something to call home.
Thank you for the people in my home, real and theoretical. For giving me strength and providing shelter from the storm inside my head. The gifts you give might not always feed my stomach when I’m hungry, but they feed my soul when I need it most.
As I prepare for my several hours on the interstate tomorrow, I won’t be thinking about the setting of my destination. I won’t focus my energy on my distaste, no matter how strong I feel it. I’m driving all of that way to come home. Walk through that door knowing I’ll receive the best hugs in the world. And that brings me peace.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie