I have been struggling for quite some time (since moving really) on nailing down where home is for me. It has been a weird transition in my life because upon moving out this time it became very clear that it was more permanent than the times before. I was not off to school and returning back. It was me moving forward with my life and away from the childhood home, where I grew up and the place where I largely became who I am today. Moving was also a big step in my life and relationship with Ryan; it was really the beginning of planning a future together.
When I first moved out in January it was difficult, to say the least. It took me probably a good two months before all of my core items were actually out of my childhood home (yes I still have a ton of stuff there it just won’t all possibly fit in the apartment). Now let’s be honest, this was partially due to the fact that I was just lazy and did not want to do a big move all at once, but it was also because I was slowly saying goodbye to a huge part of my life. My childhood home was the place where almost all my big life events occurred, it was the place I spent my entire life (minus university), and where most of my family lived (and still lives). Lucky for me this move was still in the same city, but it was still a process and I felt a huge loss leaving. It was scary and sad but also so exciting because of what lay ahead.
The move for me was like ripping off a band-aid, I was doing it all in a few months. Saying goodbye to where I grew up and even what felt like saying goodbye to my family as it became clear that I would no longer live with them (millennial Tara talking here). Rye has even reminded many times since we’ve moved in together that I am still at my childhood home with my family a lot. In fact, I think it has become a common joke for him that I spend a lot of time there, almost as much as I spend at our home and he constantly jokes about how it’s like I haven’t even moved away sometimes (…I mean someone has to water the plants in the garden still).
Moving has been a struggle for me because I have put so much pressure on deciding where to call home. When I am with my family I feel obligated to call my childhood place home, when I am with Rye I feel pressured to call our apartment home. I am in a constant state of being aware of who I am around and what I am referring to as home (I honestly think I have overthought it so much it has made me a bit crazy). I’ve pressured myself into trying to split time at each home equally and spend as much time with my family as I do with Rye. It has honestly been a long time where I have not felt at home anywhere since moving really. I look around my childhood home and it no longer feels like I fit, but I also look around my new home and it doesn’t feel like I fit here either.
Something occurred to me the other day, however. Let’s say a revelation, and honestly, if I had spent less time obsessing and overthinking about what to call what or splitting my time, it probably would have occurred to me sooner. It isn’t the place I live that is home, but the people I am with (home is where the heart is anyone?). I have pressured myself into defining a home and instead of (finally) coming to this conclusion. I have felt lost, torn and not myself or at home at either place. I have alienated myself in both places and kept myself in a constant limbo (to be honest, the cabin has been a very nice retreat for me; zero pressure to define anything there).
I am not sure why I have felt this pressure and this need to define which house I live at or visit as a home when it is so clearly not. This apartment will not be where I live forever and I always knew growing up that my house would not be where I remained for life either (thanks divorced parents for teaching me that one young). Yet I placed pressure on myself to clearly define where my home was and spend time at each because I was so torn between being a daughter or a sister to being a girlfriend and partner. But it is not a where it is a who. My family is my home and Rye (who is so much my family now and becoming more and more each day) is my home. I should feel at home on both sides and need to give myself permission to finally feel that way.
Looking back now, I don’t think it was the place I was mourning when I moved, but the relationships. I was and still am scared to lose the relationships on either side and had become obsessed at balancing both. I did not want to lose the closeness I have with my family when I moved, but I know that is strange to think now because it won’t happen. Just like I was so excited to move in with Rye and have our relationship grow and flourish in new ways, I should have been excited for how my relationship with the rest of my family will grow and flourish in this new life path.
I am not losing anything and I never should have looked at it that way. I am gaining so much more and being a part of something new and exciting. Change is hard and the unknown is scary but it can also be so exciting if we allow it. Giving myself permission to feel at home with who I am with instead of where I am is so important and would have been easier if done from the start (but who ever learned anything the easy way, right?).