About 5 steps.
Three sips of my coffee.
One look at my phone.
It is about as much as it takes to get my mind to wander back towards home, the place where I am not right now. I used to think home was this house, with these childhood friends, driving around a familiar town and passing six people I know in one hour or having parties in friends’ basements and backyards. In little ways it still is home to me.
But my real home, in this present moment, is a place that I have come to love over four years. A place where my best friends are waiting for me, ready to scoot into the car to grab a cup of coffee or anxious to meet me in Chuck’s for lunch.
Does home change one day? Do we look around and see that we have moved on? Or does our heart just shift? Do we begin to love another place with another group of people more?
I am pondering these questions because a friend of mine, whom it takes about 2 seconds on her Blackberry or one sip of a Red Bull for her mind to wander back to home, asked me something last night: “Do you ever feel guilty when you are home? Because you love your friends and they are great people but you miss school so much.”
She struggles with this a lot.
I thought about for most of my night, about how much I love college compared to some of my friends who just see it as place to get a diploma. To me, my college is so much more, the people and place are my everything. But I don’t feel guilty about this and I told her so.
What would life be if we stayed in one place. What would it amount to if I decided to stay in this spot forever and just let that be enough because it has made me happy for so long. Life would be static. We would never grow. We would never learn to be individuals.
I think about the ways in which I once believed I would never want to move forward. I wanted to stay in the second grade forever. I wanted my senior year of high school to last for an eternity. I never wanted to leave my hometown.
There have been times in all of our lives that we have wanted to be shoved in a snow globe with a particular moment in time so we would never have to let it go.
But we eventually move forward, sometimes willingly and other times begrudgingly. We find new places to fall in love with, new faces to fall in love with, new versions of our selves to fall in love with. We fall in love over and over again. All Over The Place.
But this is good. This is the way I see it: We start to love places in childhood, which propel us to love other places even more as we grow older. We reach adulthood and we are really starting to truly love passionately and willingly. We find big loves. But we must thank the little loves that we had as children, the places we were for a while like our hometown or our college, for they are the ones that have inevitably taught us to love our place in the world.
Should we feel guilty when our mind wanders and our heart runs away from the present moment towards a home that “we love more.” No, no. Not necessary. We should just be thankful for all places. All these homes. Be thankful that they have served their purpose. Be thankful that these places gave us their time.