I'm scattered along the way

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Home is where the heart is
Ain't that what they always say
My heart lies in broken pieces
Scattered along the way

-Steve Earle

When I left Oregon, I was too stupid to know I was going to miss it. Not just miss it, but hurt for it. I was so excited about my plans and being somewhere else and getting out and seeing things that I neglected to realize that there was nothing I could see that was ever going to compare with growing up in the Umpqua Valley or coming of age in Mt. Hood's backyard. I knew I loved my family, but I had no idea what the real difference was between being a three hour drive away and being a five hour flight away.

It didn't take too long away for me to figure it out. I've spent the majority of my twenties--the time I've been away from home--trying to see a way back.

And now I'm almost thirty, and I'm moving in the wrong direction. Only this time, there is no happy ignorance. I know both that I am moving farther away from home and that I'm leaving the surrogate so carefully constructed in Austin. I spent today driving a rental car all over Northern Virginia, checking out houses and neighborhoods and noting the locations of grocery stores and the traffic patterns. Researching. Making plans. Plans to uproot myself again.

The truth is that it breaks my heart to realize I am going to miss Austin. I miss Oregon so much I didn't think I could miss anywhere else, but just like the number of people for whom I am homesick keeps on increasing, apparently the places for which I am homesick will as well.

I guess this is just how it is. Your whole life is, in some way, about leaving. And I am supposed to be getting better at it as I get older. Instead, the older I get, the more people and places I miss, and the more I resent the whole situation. The more I don't want to meet new people, or integrate into a new place, because they'll eventually leave my life as well. Whatever excitement I can muster for the new stuff, it doesn't hold a candle to the nostalgia towards the old.

And, more than anything else, I still just want to go home. It doesn't help in the least that it continually becomes a more complicated question just where that is.

2 Comments

I definitely know how you feel. I've now had homes in 4 different places... and the last place that I lived I hated so much that I never imagined how fondly I would think of it and the little things that I would miss when I moved away from there. How could I possibly have hated being 20 minutes away from the roar of Niagara Falls, and I barely had time to cherish the pretty apartment that Lem was conceived, gestated, and born in.

I came across your page through a search for bath melts, and ended up playing voyeur for a while...I just wanted to say how much this post spoke to me. I grew up in Texas, spent 20 years trying to get out, and the last 5 trying to go back. I have moved 9 times in the last 10 years, and whether its across the street or across the country they all hurt in some way, they all leave their marks on me. I carry each person and place with me through my day...they pop up in my work and when I sleep. My only lesson from my gypsy life seems to be to enjoy where I am while I'm there...I don't know how long I'll be there, or when I'll get to go back again. Good luck with your next uprooting.

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