Homesickness always strikes at the changing of the seasons. Or at least, what I imagine to be the changing of seasons. Here in Myrtle Beach we have pretty much two seasons, “suffocating heat/humidity”, and “you should probably grab a hoodie”. Typically, these seasons change like a light switch. There is no fan-fare with breathtakingly colorful leaves that gently fall from the branches. Instead one day the green leaves are there, and the next day…they are gone. I don’t really notice the change until one day it occurs to me that I can see the golf course in the backyard again, my view no longer blocked by foliage. Anticlimactic is an understatement.
Needless to say, while wearing shorts and a t shirt mid February, it can be hard to remember what season it is.
Spring has sprung in New England, and summer, my favorite Vermont season, is slowly creeping in. The breathtakingly green photos that pop up on friend’s Facebook pages have left my heart aching for home, in more ways than one. It’s hard living in an area where you feel you feel you don’t belong. And I don’t necessarily mean that on a human interaction level. I’ve made some incredible friends here in Myrtle Beach, friends that I truly love like family. I have my dream job. And of course, this area is what’s best for the kids, because their dad lives here too. It is important that I stress that I am not unhappy here, not even close.
But I live with a constant overwhelming feeling this is not where I belong.
My heart aches for the mountains. For hundreds and thousands of acres of forest. For trails and bike lanes and gardens and co-ops. For people who will fight like hell to protect the land, instead of fighting in the parking lots of a Walmart. For lazy days on the river, not fearing alligators and water moccasins, undertows and sharks. For local, second hand, and recycled, instead of brand names, pretentiousness, and keeping up with the Joneses. For hammocks, and front porches, and clothes lines… and no HOA’s to fine you while simultaneously scolding and reminding you that those “unsightly” things are not allowed.
Simplicity over strip malls.
Dirt roads over daily 3 lane traffic jams.
A space where you can’t hear a single car in the distance, a space where you can truly get lost.
The overwhelming pull for these things is more than just a passing thought on a bad day, it’s a daily yearn. Believe me, I wish it wasn’t, which is why I try to keep the mention of this homesickness to a minimum. No one wants to hear that negativity. And of course, I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have what I have, to live where I live. Don’t ever doubt that I do indeed count my blessings daily.
But today, the homesickness hit hard, and I felt compelled to share instead of hiding it. Writing, after all, is my secondary form of therapy behind running…and I’m benched from running until further notice.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
I like to think that at 35 I’m still a young, spring chicken (well, at least still not an old hen), but the truth is my thirties have certainly brought on more than a few life lessons, realizations, and a little bit of wisdom. I truly believe that we are all in charge of the paths we take and the overall direction of our lives. Things happen completely out of our control, and yes, some of those things completely suck. How we react to those things, and what direction we take from there, is up to us. There is something to be gained, something to be learned, and a reason for every situation.
Myrtle Beach is not where I want my family and I to be, but Myrtle Beach is where we are. And so, the best thing I can do is make the BEST of what I (we) do have. Every. Single. Day.
Today I vow that I’ll start trying harder to find those quiet places where the sound of the leaves rustling is louder than the sound of the nearby highway. Where green outweighs asphalt. Where adventure is much more fulfilling than trying to make it home from 501 during 5:00 rush hour unscathed. I know they’ve got to be here somewhere.
I guess the point of sharing this post, if there is one at all, is to let any other wayward travelers who find themselves somewhere other than what feels like “home” know…you aren’t alone.
Sometimes “you aren’t alone” is all we need to hear to start seeing the bright side again. And sometimes, it’s OK to not know where “home” actually is.
(This post brought to you by lack of endorphins and other happy running vibes. I’ll be OK, I promise.)