I've lived lots of places. Mostly I've stuck to the Midwest, but have also called the East Coast home. Yet, that isn't exactly true. Not that I didn't live there, because I did, but that those places were home. When I hear people say that they are going back home, or that they are home, I often wonder what that feels like. I don't feel like I have a home. I've lived in my house for twelve years. But, Des Moines doesn't feel like home. I lived in Chicago for seventeen years. When I visit it doesn't feel like I'm going back home. I was born in New Jersey. Visiting there doesn't bring those feelings, either. It's frustrating and unsettling. I want a place that I would want to return to again and again, yet I can't think of a place that evokes those feelings. If I left Iowa, I can't imagine wanting to return. When I left Chicago I knew I would never live there again. I have never had the desire to live in New Jersey.
I wish I could say that I've built my home, but it doesn't feel that way. Even when Warren was alive, our home felt comfortable, safe and full of love, but it didn't feel like a final destination. It felt like a stepping stone, a stop along the way to something else. When I was younger, this didn't really bother me. I was fine with this feeling that something else was out there to discover. I knew I was working towards a place that would be home, a place that called me back time and time again. As I age, those feelings are exhausting and cause me more anxiety than excitement. I want to know that I can settle down, relax without wondering what's next. Is that even possible for me? I have no idea.
The truth is that I don't know what home will feel like. How will I know when I'm home if I've never felt it? Even growing up, I felt that my home was temporary. My goal at a very young age was to get the hell out of Chicago and never look back. When we'd visit New Jersey I was often thankful that my parents moved away from there. While Chicago wasn't perfect, I liked it way more than the East Coast. It makes me wonder, is home a place you create that you want to stay, or is it a place you will always belong? Is home a person who makes you feel like you have the world in them? How do you know when you're home? Is it really about who shares it with you? Over time I hope that life answers these questions and allows me some peace of mind that I am exactly where I should be.