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. There’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?
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.