To a question posed by a dear friend about a year ago, by reading a book on that same friend's shelf.
For those who are not familiar with this piece of my story (and I don't expect any of you to be) I moved from Massachusetts to California because my partner at the time got a job out there. Nine months ago I moved from the left coast to Ohio because of a pull of family, unfinished business, and most immediately a job (versus chronic unemployment in California) of TGF. While prepping for that move, and dealing with grief about leaving the coast and fears of the land of Ohio (much whining about these things was done on this blog, sorry about that), my friend expressed concern about this apparent pattern. (I don't see it as a pattern so much as the path I'm on.) She asked while we Google chatted, "where do you want to live?". I have pondered this question a lot (sorry I never told you Jennie) and have been sitting with it. It occurred to me that I don't have a particular drive to live in any part of the country because to me it's all filled with possibility. As soon as I rule out a region I may lose something incredible that was supposed to be part of my journey. Today I am at Jennie's house, wearing her bathrobe which is soft and lightweight which makes me realize I need an article of clothing like this of my own, sitting on the couch, reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Casts Off". All in all it's a very light hearted book and a bit silly but it has some great quotes. The that reached out to me this morning is this:
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller
I am not a particular fan of Henry Miller's work, having never sought it out however this sums up the answer that has been swirling in my head for a year. It is always about how you live a place, not as much where it is. Yes, yes, there are places that may be intrinsically better for us hippie, lesbian, alternative, witchy-jewish-buddhist types than others. Certainly Ohio was never on my list of places to visit for anything much at all let alone become a resident, yet that is where my path has led me and already it has offered me so much concretely and ethereally. It has challenged (some) of my assumptions about such place, it has been refreshingly friendly and accepting. I have made friends and almost a peace with my coastal biases and snobbery about the middle of the country. If I had not made a commitment to my partner, if I was not optimist and conscious, I would have never made this move. I would have never allowed myself to be open and trust my intuition that flowed through me when we happened on our neighborhood. The gratefulness I feel for that day when my body vibrated on something in the air in South Park that said "this is where I can feel at home", I would have lost something amazing, something I didn't think still existed - a true neighborhood, one that was not insular but accepting of new residents, eager to bring them into the fold and say "you belong here".
So Jennie, while there are places I have lived that I have loved and feel connected to, and in theory I could find a number of new places to make home in the decades I hope to have before me, there is no one place that has absolutely everything I want. There are still other places that I may harbor a desire to inhabit to deeply experience however I do not need to have a plan to find them, I do not need to be sad that I may never claim them as home. My mantra is that I hope and will work to always find what I need wherever my journey lands me.