It is a beautiful, sunny, summer Sunday morning. I’m alone with two old sayings running through my head: “Home is where the heart is” and “We are the sum of our life experiences”.
Like most young people, I couldn’t wait to get out of my home town of Erie, PA, at the age of 18 and see any part of the world I could navigate toward. I didn’t navigate far, going to college in Philadelphia, then moving to Huntsville, Alabama; Pittsburgh, PA.; Cleveland, OH; Phoenix, AZ; and now the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In between location changes in the U.S., I traveled to a few other countries for short vacations.
While I was doing all of that moving around, I left a trail of friends in every port and my career grew by leaps and bounds – but my day-to-day life grew quieter year over year. At the same time, everyone who stayed back in Western PA grew solid support systems of friends and family that sustained them through life’s ups and downs and will carry them into old age.
I’ve been in my current location for 2.5 years and if I needed a ride to the doctor, I would have to call a taxi cab. The sum of my life experiences now pushes me to ask where my heart is and how I can navigate to something that feels like home; something where new life experiences are part of a larger network of people who’s lives intertwine with mine – where silence on a beautiful Sunday morning is replaced by coffee with family or friends and a companionable hike or walk somewhere nearby.
I would like to tell people in their 20’s and 30’s not to run away from the idea of putting your life roots down in that old home town. Find love and then put down roots around it. It will sustain you in the best way possible.
All the career success in the world will not fill the silence on a beautiful Sunday morning when you drink coffee alone, take a solitary walk, and wonder what the people in your life are doing in another city or state or country that they call home.