A quick note on staying. Part of the unspoken tribal 'rules' when I was growing up was this idea of staying. Family members that stayed close to home -next door or within a 30 minute radius- were lauded and praised, ones that ventured out as far as an hour or a couple time zones away were... not outcast, but it was different. I just typed and then deleted several snippets of conversation I remember vividly from my childhood. Deleted because, that's not the point. I don't even think the thoughts or the words were a conscious thing. It's a several-generations deep basic instinct, part of the 'rules' that are unspoken among a group. Family or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with rules. Rules help ensure survival of the group. So staying. There is nothing wrong with staying. It's a beautiful thing.
When I was a small child, only able to speak a few words I had one phrase perfected. It was "No home!" Let me state clearly and without reservation that this was not a reflection on my home. I had the most lovely of childhoods with parents who loved me, and loved each other. I wanted for nothing. I was happy. Every time we'd be out running errands or shopping or whatever the day's tasks may have been, the story goes that I would protest loudly and repeatedly "No home!" from my carseat in the back of our car. No matter what route my parents tried to take, or where we started from, according to my mother I had a sixth sense that ALWAYS knew when we were heading toward home, and I was always down to stay wherever we were for longer. From the carseat.
Growing up I loved to hear this story --I mean, what an adorable kid right?! Lol. Who doesn't want to stay out shopping more even at 18months?! Again, it's not that home was a bad place to be... but, there was so much more to see and do...
I've thought a lot in recent years that this in a quality that I never lost. The first time I went away on vacation --I was hooked. The first time I went to New York I literally went through withdrawals upon leaving for MONTHS. And so a traveller was born. For a while I found a place that I wanted to stay for a while. And I stayed. And I fell in love. And I fell out of love. And I stayed. And it felt like home. For a long time. And then before I realized that it wasn't home anymore I was miserable. I was a rockstar at a job that I hated. I had fallen into this old bred-deep idea that everyone had a place. That there was a home. A geographical location where everyone belonged. And you settled down and you did adult-y things like buy houses and establish pension plans. By the time I realized I needed out I was a shell of the strong woman I had become. I felt such a strong pull to be near to my family again. The thought of leaving my family had me in sobs and tears every time, so I moved my home. That gypsy soul was still lulled to rest by the concept of adulthood engrained in my brain. It was right to go home. At the time I thought I'd stay there forever. In retrospect, that was not meant to be. I was never meant to stay. I was meant to be there and to have the experiences I did. Of that I am sure. I am also sure that I was never meant to stay. Again, by the time I realized I was meant to go I had held on to the concept of staying and permanence longer than was healthy for my mental state.
The point of this (I do have one) is that I find myself at an interesting cross road. I've found a new place. I love this place. It feels like a lot of things that feel like home. I have a complete mental block on calling it home or on committing to stay. And I'm ok with that. Because staying is not for me. --geographically. I'm happier than I've been in years. I've lost 40lbs without trying. I have a core group of friends and coworkers that feel like family. I feel free. I feel right. I smile every day. Every day. Do you know why? Because I let go of the idea of staying. This idea of permanence is lost on me geographically. Do you know what's permanent in my life? People. My people. My family. My people here in LA, my people from Seattle, my people from New York, the people I met in these places are literally scattered all across the country now and with one soul-sister (in the literal sense of the term) even in Kenya. They are my permanent. They are my stay.
Sometimes it kills me to FaceTime with the people I love most in this world. I love my littles more than anything in this world and I treasure the time I get to see them --even if it's only on screen-- more than life itself. It's also hard. To not be able to go snuggle them and have them read me stories and do my makeup and see them play and laugh and grow in person. Sometimes that kills me.
People ask me all the time "When are you just going to sign on and stay?" Or "Where are you going next?" and few people understand "I'm not" and "I don't know." And that's ok. It's not for them to understand. I'm not sure I understand it fully. What I do understand is this. It's me. And I'm ok with it, and I'm ok with not knowing and not having it all figured out. I have a home. I have a permanent. I have a stay. Mine just looks different than yours. Mine is not geographical. Mine is my people. Someday I might have a geographical stay also. Who knows? I like my version of permanent just fine. If staying in one geographic location near my babies --my littles-- wasn't right, nowhere is. There is SO much of this great big world to go and see!! I'll keep my 'home' within me, my people, and I'll continue to be just fine --as someone who inspires me daily says, 'Wherever you go... there you are. Living day by day... let's see where it takes me.'