Growing up, I was taught that “home is where the heart is” – compliments of some hand-stitched needlepoint that my mom or grandma had done at some point and hung on the wall. There’s the part in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy clicks her ruby red heels together and chants ‘There’s no place like home’ three times then magically reappears there. Sometimes it’d be nice to be able to do this. Trust me – there have been times that I’ve wished I could click my glittery size 12 pumps (just kidding, those days are over) together and end up in my mom’s house with a home-cooked meal in the land of a lack of reliable cell phone service where the closest guy on Grindr is 4 miles away.
Let’s face it though. It gets old pretty quickly. I’ve come to realize that home isn’t necessarily a static place. Some people are fine with locking it down and staying in one place and never leaving (I’m looking at you, half of my graduating high school class) a 30-minute radius for college, post-graduate life, and whatever else comes after. Not me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love nothing more than to get back to my hometown for a quick getaway, but a 3-day weekend is about all I can handle. What used to be home – and always will be – is not my “home” anymore, nor is the city I moved to after college, and neither is my current city of Chicago at this point. While home will always be where the heart is, it’s more a matter of where you choose to make it – and where your bed is.
My mom even said it herself when I was home recently. I was sitting in the living room messaging one of my friends back in Chicago – probably discussing how bored I was and how I found it mind-boggling that the closest person on Grindr was 4 miles away, yet in Chicago depending on the time of day I’d max out at less than a mile away – when she came in, sat down, and proceeded to have one of her infamous talks (a.k.a. passing on her words of wisdom that she’s gained over the years).
“It’s nice to have you back,” she said, “but I can tell you’re ready to get back to Chicago. I get the same way when I go back to your grandma’s for a few days. It’s home, but it’s not home anymore.”
SIDE NOTE: By the way mom, sorry if grandma is reading this because I totally just threw you under the bus there.
But really, she had a good point. In telling me this, she was basically reading my mind and reinforcing what I already knew. My hometown would always be where I grew up and had family, but that was it.
Coming back from San Diego in September, I had realized that Chicago didn’t really feel like home anymore either though.
Sure, I would always love the city and its diverse neighborhoods – each with its own personality, sense of style, festivals, restaurants, the works. It’s great not needing a car and having the option to hail a cab, take public transit, or simply just walk places (come on…I have a 3 minute commute by foot – you can’t really beat it!), and I’ll forever have a love/hate relationship with the CTA. Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart, but – just like my hometown – there comes a point that you know it’s time to move on and that you can always come back and visit whenever you want.
I’m not sure what it is about San Diego and even Southern California in general. Is it the amazing year-round weather? Perhaps it’s the laid-back lifestyle of a beach town (yet still with a modern city atmosphere downtown) with all the bells and whistles of a major metropolitan area (Los Angeles, duh) being just a few hours away if you want a change of pace? Maybe it’s the fact that you can go surfing in the Pacific and go hiking in the mountains in the same afternoon if you so choose? I don’t know. Something just clicked while I was there.
I knew from the moment my plane started its descent toward O’Hare that Chicago wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I didn’t have that “Gah! It feels so good to be home!” feeling this time. There was a sense of emptiness. A longing to be back in California.
While a few of my grandparents (and my best friend, the blogger formerly known as Not-So-Carrie) seem to remain pretty much opposed to me being nearly 2,500 across the country from them, everyone else – former college professors as well as other family members and close friends alike – is pushing me to go for it and take the leap that I’m already plan on taking.
Like I said before, what do I have to lose? True friends stick with you no matter where you live, so I know those friendships won’t be jeopardized. But a career in my field? Real estate of my own? A relationship? None of those are in existence at the moment, so what better time than now to start a new adventure.
So with that being said, it’s official. I’ll be moving across the country (again) in a few short months.
The packing has already begun. The quotes for moving companies to ship my belongings vs. U-Haul’ing them myself have started to come back in – along with the harassing phone calls and emails wondering “Are you still moving?” since it’s been a few weeks since I initially contacted them for quotes. My half of the lease is already tentatively subletted out to a friend. Job applications are being submitted at a record rate for positions in my field as well as doing what I’m doing now (a.k.a. something not-at-all-related to my field).
Everything’s quickly falling into place.
Now if I could just land a job offer so I have something lined up for when I get there…