I leave in a few minutes to visit my family back in Colorado. I am SO looking forward to seeing the mountains, eating the *best* (argue if you like) smothered chili rellenos, seeing dear friends, and, because I love food, basically smothering everything I consume in green chili. (It’s a Colorado thing.)

Want to know a secret? (Just between you and me, dear world-wide web)

At this moment in time, I would rather stay at home, in my current corner of the world. In New Jersey. With no Mexican food or mountains.

Maybe it’s the daunting fact I’ll be flying with a toddler on my own, depending on a book of stickers, an iPad, and a jumbo-sized bag of goldfish crackers to keep her busy for a 4-hour flight. Not looking forward to that, no.

Mostly I’m thinking about the fact that the place I used to feel most comfortable isn’t where I belong anymore. I used to. DSCN3838There’s a lot of pride in growing up in Colorado. For some reason, my friends and I always felt as though we lived in the best place in the world, and most everyone I met agreed. Mountains, low humidity, an amazing yet approachable arts/music scene, activities and sight-seeing galore.

But now I’ve lived elsewhere. The prairie. Near the shore. And in order to live in those places, I’ve had to overcome that weird arrogance and search for the good things about those other places. To the point of saying, “Hm, this place has good [insert place/weather/etc. here]. ” If I didn’t, I became this blubbery mess that couldn’t get over being homesick, and who wants to live like that?

The first time I returned home after trying that exercise, I felt guilty. Like I’d betrayed the place I loved. Which sounds silly, now that I write it. But I didn’t want to like anyplace else except this one.  It was the best. Why would I try to like anything but the best?

These days when I return home, it’s just a different place. I don’t feel like I belong there anymore. And that is okay. Which makes me feel not okay. Is it okay to not feel a deep loyalty to anyplace you live? Is it okay to move on and grow up?

DSCN1045You know the answer. You’ve probably figured this out faster than this fickle 30-something did.

It’s okay to expand your world and appreciate other places and things and people. It doesn’t mean that what you had wasn’t the best for you at that time. But the world is so much bigger than the Rockies and coffeeshops with the right atmosphere.

All righty. Thanks for letting me type this all out. I think I’m ready to go home, now.  Not ready for the plane ride, but it’ll be good once we land.


22 thoughts on “When Home isn’t Home.

  1. Oh, Amy, I just loved this. I grew up in Virginia, lived in Utah, and moved to Illinois a year ago. I have two places I think of as home, but it’s not back where I grew up. More and more, home is less a place, and more about the people I love.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amy, this is great. I, too, have lived in many places and felt that each had it’s pleasures. I am, now however, back close to my growing up home, but I still love all those other places I have lived. I found that I kept finding similarities to each of the places I lived. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I so appreciate this post, Amy. There is a lot of pride where I currently live, the greater Portland metro area. A lot. Everybody wants to live here in Oregon.

    And the place where I was born and grew up, Southern California, receives only ridicule. “How can you *live* here?” most out-of-town people would say. Yes, it can be crowded. But California has beautiful places as well.

    As you’ve discovered, life is about connections–with people, mostly. We can learn to appreciate the features that make each new living situation unique.

    “I would so-so-so love to live in Oregon,” most visitors say. Thing is, eventually life settles down into family, jobs, and friendships–just like in Southern California. You rush to work, to the grocery store, and do laundry… and forget to look at the tall trees. Then too, it’s so vibrantly green here for a reason. A month of straight drizzle–we’re talking about no sign of the sun–is more debilitating than people realize.

    You know, when I lived in the greater Los Angeles area, I’d drive 30 miles to see a friend. Yeah, freeway driving and everything, no big deal. Around here we won’t even drive across a bridge to see a friend. Weird but true. Ask any Portlander. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My mom grew up in Riverside, CA, and she’s always said, “To like it, you have to have an appreciation for the high desert.”
      And it’s so true. I go to the mountains more now that I don’t live there. It was easy to take it for granted. 😉 I’d love to visit Portland. Sounds lovely.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The world IS so much bigger than where we grow up. My grandfather, and others I’ve known since, had no desire to ever leave their little spots on the planet. While I think it’s great to love where you live, I also think you miss a lot if you never go to new places. I’ve lived in places that felt like home and others that never did. I’m living in the state I grew up in now (and it feels like home), but a little village on the coast is calling me home too. Happy travels!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’re right on that. Sometimes I need a jolt to get out of my little bubble and into the world. Once I’m there, even if I don’t *love* it, I’m still glad I went. Gives me fodder for my eventual memoirs, right? 😉


  5. There’s so much to say on this subject. The place I’ve been most homesick for ever is neither the city I grew up in nor the city (in a different country) where I’ve lived since my early twenties, but a place in the mountains that belonged to my late husband’s family. I guess it’s the place where I spent the happiest times of my adult life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that makes sense. A place where you feel the most complete would be the kind of home I’d want, anyway. Plus, I’m biased towards the mountains, so it sounds lovely to me.


  6. I carry a bag of homes inside of me and sometimes, when a breeze shifts one way or another, I catch the smell of long ago–they never really leave us. I love what you said about the home of growing up and the home of your present day as grown woman and mother. Your words about finding the beauty in a new place rang hard and true for me as I remember looking over the brown California hills as a newly arrived fourteen-year-old and thinking what a wasteland it was. It took years for me to find that beauty. Photography seems to help. Loved your pictures too.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wish there were a *LOVE* button. Love this post. And love you too. Enormously. Can’t wait to see you soon….. and, yes, now I’m hungry for your green chili…. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I find myself saying, “I’m going home,” when I head to where my family is, and “I’m going home,” when I return to my husband,” and “I’m going home” when I go to where I grew up, and “I’m going home,” when I go to the place where my ancestral cemetery is. There are so many homes. I guess it depends on where my heart is pointed at the time. What a beautiful post this was!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh, man. I’ve lived in 3 states (4, some might say, if you count NorCal and SoCal separately 😉 ), and each “home” has a different resonance and ‘thing’ for me. South Carolina is birthplace and watershed and southern wiring and y’all. Indiana is extended family, 25+ cousins, lightning bugs, and humidity like a dentist’s lead blanket. NorCal was small-town, cowboy, homeschool, the local library, and Yosemite as my backyard. SoCal is time, school, friends, a life, flowers in perpetual bloom. Leaving NorCal was like ripping out my still-beating heart, and I had to develop the daily practice of looking for the beauty even in the hell of the starless city smog ghetto traffic crowd. As Tonia said, photography helped with that practice. And the practice of looking-for and noticing-that made it survivable.

    (And yes, I, too, LOVE Tonia’s ‘bag of homes’ analogy. Wow.)


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