I firmly believe that there are few things in life more confusing than being in your early twenties. This is mostly due to living in a constant state of transition. There is no permanency. There is no certainty. Life is like running on a treadmill: you’re always moving, but you’re going nowhere. And then one day you realize you’re homeless.
The concept of home is something that I’ve thought a lot about in the last year. Everyone’s definition of it is different. If we’re being formal, home is the physical place where you live, whether that be a fancy McMansion or tiny studio apartment. Others prefer a more social perspective and consider home to be with their family. Both definitions are correct, but I think they are lacking. Home should be where we are most comfortable; it’s a place where we can be ourselves. Home is where we most belong. And that is why I am feeling lost…because I don’t know where I belong, and the places where I used to belong no longer fit.
I’ve felt this way for quite some time, but it’s really sunken in the last couple months that I’ve lived with my parents again. Before moving back here, I had fantasized about the simplicity and familiarity of returning to my childhood home for the summer. I had never imagined I would feel such disconnect to everything. I guess now that I’ve experienced living on my own and a certain degree of independence, it seems very weird to be in a place that isn’t mine. The refrigerator has things in it that I would never eat, the rooms are decorated in a style I wouldn’t choose, and the bedroom I call my own is now filled with placeholder furniture. I refer to this place as home because it’s where my parents and dogs are, but it does not feel like home. Not anymore.
Unfortunately, Bloomington is not my home either. I call it home because it is where my things are, and it is the place where I spend most of my time, but it has never felt like home. I don’t fit in there. It’s not a place where I would choose to live. It just simply is not home. Does that make any sense? Am I completely crazy? How can a person have two homes but still feel homeless? This is the confusion that lives inside my brain, and the only comfort I have in the situation is telling myself that it won’t be like this forever. I hope.
I have a picture in my head of what home looks like, and on the days where I’m feeling particularly lost, I like to escape there because it feels like home, too. I know it is only imaginary, but my brick and mortar townhouse in the Boston area feels so real I can taste it. I can see the kitchen with a vase full of fresh hydrangeas by the sink. I can see my office that doubles as a library for all my books. I can see the crème colored sofa in front of the living room fireplace. I can see the sidewalks where I walk my dog after I get home from work. Sometimes the dog is a sheltie, or a French bulldog, or a cavalier spaniel...but no matter the breed, there is always a dog.
In a Pinterest world, it is really easy to imagine the things, but in my imaginary world there is also happiness and a strong sense of being content. That is what I’m mostly searching for. It’s the place where I’m the best version of me, and I’m out in the world making something of myself. I know in my heart that that place is not in Indiana. Indiana is not my home, but it is what I know. And it’s that thought that makes the idea of searching for home incredibly scary. Because the search would mean leaving my family, my friends, and everything that is familiar. It means the strong possibility of failure, and I’ve never been great with failure.
Of course, this is all in the future, and I probably shouldn’t waste my time and energy thinking about it now. It’s always good to have a plan, but I tend to obsess and dwell on things I cannot change. And as much as I wish I could, I cannot change the fact that I am still another two years away from finishing my undergraduate degree. Two years is a long time to wait to start my search for home. Two years is a long time to feel homeless. Two years is not forever, but patience has never been a prominent word in my vocabulary. So for now I need to remind myself that where I am may not be my forever home, but it is my temporary home. It may not be where I belong, but I am on the way to where I’m going. I need to enjoy the time I have while I’m here, and probably listen to less Carrie Underwood music while I’m at it.