The other day I was leaving a part of Atlanta I’m unfamiliar with, so I pulled out my phone to help me get back to Gainesville. After opening my GPS app I clicked “home.”
In that moment a wave of comfort washed over me. I’ve lived in a place long enough that it’s saved in my GPS. It’s been saved there for a while, but for some reason the awareness of it hit me right then.
When I was in college I couldn’t wait to graduate, to get away from the desks and walls of my university and experience the world firsthand. Less than a month after walking across stage in my graduation gown and Chuck Taylors I was in the mountains of California, followed by the slums of India.
Then came Nashville, where I slept on a mattress on a floor and used Starbucks boxes as a dresser. My only piece of furniture was at $10 Salvation Army bookshelf.
I left Nashville for the World Race, ditching my mattress and Starbucks boxes for a backpack and sleeping pad. For almost a year we moved from country to country, from continent to continent.
When I came back from the World Race I applied for Teach for America, expecting to be in the same place for at least two years. But they rejected me, which opened up doors to Nicaragua, a stint in Georgia and squad leading through Central America + Eastern Europe. Oh and two weeks in Italy. (Thanks for that, TFA.)
I moved into an apartment the summer of 2012, four years after graduating college and galavanting around the world. I thought I would be there for a while, so I painted my room. A few weeks after the paint dried, we decided to move. An adorable house with a yellow door became available.
This month marks 1.5 years since I moved in. My driver’s license has a permanent address – THIS address. I get magazines… they know where to come. My walls are painted and I have things drilled into the wall. I have a dresser. A dresser!
As much as I love traveling, I love having a place to call home. A place that remains consistent amidst the swirl of being in my 20s. One of my roommates might move out, but my antique chair isn’t going anywhere.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20s it’s that people come and go. I haven’t yet figured out the formula for knowing which relationships are going to stick, because a lot of times I think they will… and then they don’t. Sometimes I don’t know which relationships to fight for and which ones to let go. If anyone knows the answer please let me know. (Note: I know there’s no answer.) (But if there is one seriously let me know.)
They say our 20s are for figuring things out – that this is the time in our lives to grow up, fall down, make mistakes and stand back up again. Sometimes with our heads a little higher, sometimes with our hearts a little more broken.
Lately, life has been swirly. Two of my closest friends moved away in July and I’m starting to feel the repercussion of that loss. I was offered a new position at work, so I’m currently in transition, which brings a batch of mixed emotions (more on that later.) I was dating someone and it didn’t work out.
All of this hit me at the same time around a week ago. That was when I pulled out my GPS, tapped on home and felt a wave of relief wash over me.
This time these walls don’t confine me, they comfort me.
Right now I’m amidst change and growth and loss and hope, but I also have the steadfastness of a place I call home…
And that makes all the difference.