When I was younger, just out of college, I loved the adventure of moving. I can still remember driving to my first apartment after I graduated. The skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis rose out of the morning mist as we crested a hill south of the city. I was in the car with my mom; my suitcase, bedding, and a box fan were in the back of the pickup truck.
Things seemed fresh with possibility, dewy with newness.
I stayed there for a year before taking a job at a summer camp where I made my home in a cabin with a bunk bed and a chipped painted dresser. After meeting my future husband a few years later, I left my job and another apartment - the one with the Murphy bed, an ancient fridge, and hexagon tile in the bathroom - to spend several weeks abroad with him.
A few years, and a few moves later, we married and carried our lives to Morocco, where we lived in a sunny yellow house with a streak of magenta bougainvillea out front. We would move another five, maybe six, more times, crossing continents and cultures, always near the prairie for my husband’s work.
And each time it became harder.
Harder to get up and go.
Harder to see the realm of possibility that lay ahead.
With each move I felt bit more unmoored.
Beyond the real logistical challenges of finding a house or a school, with each new move, I seemed to be trying to figure out things, so I could adapt and fit in. Were the neighbors friendly? Do you chat in the pick up line at school? Where do you buy groceries? Who were the doctors I should see? You take your shoes off before you step on the carpet, but do you put them back on when you walk through the rest of the house?
This was also happening as I entered each new stage in my life, this pull to figure out the rules so I could fit in. I’d wonder am I doing the right things as a wife? A mother? A working professional?
The problem, I eventually realized, was that I couldn’t remember what I liked anymore. I didn’t really know what I wanted. I alternated between searching blindly for some unknown set of rules to making sure everyone else was okay and could find what they needed.
I wasn’t at home in the only place that ever really was my home: myself
If you can’t connect your deeper self, you look to others to define how you need to be and act in the world, and that feels unsettling to your soul. You can feel something isn’t right, yet you’ve never been taught how to find out what that is.
As you move from apartment to house, small town to city, job to job, there are new things to learn. As your environment evolves and your circumstances change – from single to married, childless to mother or employee to entrepreneur – if you are not connected to your inner wisdom, those transitions can leave you feeling untethered.
The best thing is though that anyone can find their way home again. We’re wired to seek it. Recognizing and naming what’s going on is a powerful first step.
Coming home to myself has been a gentle, joyful process. It started with making time to connect and remember my deeper self, the one that’s always there.
That same immutable spirit has been with me no matter where I’ve lived, no matter what stage of my life I’ve been in.
Finding my way home to myself means now I’m at home wherever I am.