So our adventure to a more minimalist lifestyle has led us to down-sizing our home. We get possession of said house in October. For now, we are staying with generous family. Actually, we’re house and dog sitting while they’re away in Europe. 😉 I could probably write an entire entry about the joys and challenges of living in someone else’s house, especially family, but I won’t. I want to talk about coming home again.
We’ve bought a home in my husband’s old stomping grounds. Truth be told, I spent a few years in the area as a youth also. Funny thing is, if someone had told me even 2 years ago that I would be moving here and enjoying it, I would have called them a liar. I would’ve laughed in their face. I might even have gotten all defensive about it and told them to mind their own business. And this is why….
Anyone who knows me, knows that I had a fairly challenging youth. My family life was good, but in terms of school and social life, it was hell. I swore up and down, and left and right, backward and forward, diagonally and whatever other way possible, that I would never, ever, ever move back here, where most of those hellish years were spent. Any time I HAD to drive into this part of town, I would look around in disgust and mention how much I hated it. And yet, TA DA!!! Here we are!
I know so many individuals who insist one of two things. 1) You can’t go home again OR 2) Why the eff would you want to! In fact, I know many individuals who would avoid moving into the neighborhood or town/city they grew up in at all costs! And I simply don’t get it. I have to be honest. I’ve learned SOOOO much about myself by having gone back to where I came from. The frustrating thing is, I don’t know how to explain it. But I can say this, doing so really taught me that a place really is what you make it. I use to argue against that ALL the time.
Now, I’m not saying that any place in the world can be made a happy place in its entirety. That’s just silly. But the world seriously changes as you get older. YOU and the world seriously change as you get older. The things that I hated about this place 15 years ago, no longer exist. Because the truth is, what I really hated at that time, and still look back on ashamedly, is myself.
Hate is a strong word, I know. And I don’t really believe I ever truly “hated” myself. I’m simply using that term to describe how little I loved myself then. I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t value myself. And until I was ready to do so, I was never going to see what the world, and all that’s in it, truly has to offer….anywhere! But how did going home help?
Well, during those troubled and often horrendous times in my life, I would always place blame elsewhere. I remember truly believing, with every fiber of my being that geography played a HUGE part in my unhappiness. I kept telling myself things like “It’ll get better when I can get the hell outta here” or “If only I lived somewhere where people got me”. To be frank, the grass was always greener somewhere else. I’d convinced myself that I was suffocating wherever I was and had to get out. So I’d move, and things would be fine for a while. Sometimes that while would be months, sometimes it was years. But eventually, it would catch up with me (because it was me that needed changing and not the geography) and I’d be back to square one!
Now, I’m not saying that any individual that refuses to go home, or live back where they grew up, is in a bad place, refusing to face their past and/or has no self-awareness, self-love, self-worth or self-value. I’m only speaking from my own experience. I just can’t express how much I’ve valued the journey of leaving and coming back again, how much it has taught me. It’s taught me so much about things I want to impart on my own children, but I don’t know how. It’s just like how I’m trying to describe it to you, my reader, and I can’t. I guess it’s really something someone has to do and experience for themselves to understand. And even then, your experience will be different from mine. Especially if we were avoiding “home” for different reasons. Maybe if I try and explain a little more….
One of the reasons I never wanted to come back here was because I thought I hated the people. I believed that two types of people lived here. The snobs, unforgiving, judgmental people and the low life losers who had no goals, ambition. drive or joy in life. Funny thing is, and it’s so obvious now I want to vomit, those type of people are everywhere! I found them in Orleans, Aylmer, Gloucester, South and I’m sure they’re in all other necks and neighborhoods too. The problem was ME! I was only willing to see them that way! I was only cavorting with those types, allowing them in my life. And once you’ve let someone in, it’s not easy to get them out without moving! You get where I’m going with this?
So I guess what’s super important is the people you surround yourself with. And for me, moving home means moving closer to people who make sense to me and who I make sense to. I now live two blocks from my in-laws and 4-5 blocks from my own father and step-mother and I couldn’t be happier about it. What saddens me is how many people, when they find that out, say “OMG! I could never live that close to my parents or in-laws!” That really and truly saddens me. I know I’m lucky in that most of those who are related to me are wonderful, kind, caring and loving people who love celebrating my feats and mourning my losses with me. I know I’m lucky in that they hold common sense and respect for themselves and others. But to ever think, and truly believe, that I HAVE to be far from them? I can’t imagine it! In fact, I do have family who are very far away, and those are one of the losses I mourn. Don’t get me wrong, I see them, but not often enough.
Ok, I think I’ve said my piece now and, I should start dinner. But before I go, let me just say… If you’re one of those who feels the need to be away from your past and/or your family, I beg of you to seriously examine the reason(s). One of them just might be you.
In peace and without judgment,