I have been home for seven months now. I feel externally idle with adventure pulsing in my veins, waiting to burst. I remind myself life is not about place but human connection. This is my daily mantra. It matters not where you are but who you are, and who you allow yourself to meet and further be present with.
This time at home has been surprisingly rewarding, frustrating but continuously rewarding.
Travel is my addiction, it is a constant rush of the unknown, mystery, and thus adrenaline. It is the perfect drug, it doesn’t tie you down, its high is always of a different variety and thus unexpected, and there are no proven physical side-effects.
Seven months in Seattle has reminded me that it is a high nonetheless. Once you become reliant on a high, normality as you came to live it before the high somehow seems low, and lower than normal should be. If the high isn’t bad for you why not chase it?
I had a Nanny when I was a little girl, until I wasn’t even so little anymore, who had a huge impact on my life. Shelly used to say to me, come Christmas time when the most common phase fleeing my mouth was ‘I can’t wait for Christmas’, that I could wait and further I should try to enjoy the wait. As a kid that seemed like the most unbearable and unreasonable advice. How could you enjoy waiting? Waiting inherently meant that your were preoccupied by an internal countdown that clouded all present activities with the mundane ticks and tocks to its completion.
Healthy withdrawal, if you can oversee its oxymoronic nature, is a balancing act of deafening out the tick and tocks enough to enjoy the present while maintaining excitement for the next high.
I have been home for seven months now, waiting to go off to grad school in South Africa come January 5, and I have been enjoying the wait. I was home to take a remarkable and unforgettable road-trip across the United States after graduation. I was home to welcome Declan to Seattle for another bit of much enjoyed time together. I was home to photograph my first wedding. I was home to go on Dad and my annual father-daughter camping trip with his friend from high school and his daughter. I was home when my Great Uncle Lane passed away. I was home to hug Grandma and the rest of the family, and to send off balloons with messages to Lane off the bow of my great Uncle Brooke and Aunt Sharon’s boat. I was home to bear witness to the hoopla of this years presidential elections. I was home to vote for President Barack Obama and the legalization of gay marriage in Washington State. I was home to watch both victories, and I was home to feel thankful to America. I was home to mentor a photography class at Youth in Focus, a youth empowerment program for marginalized teens in the greater Seattle area. I was home to listen to their stories, and share with them parts of my life that might give them insights into their own decision making. I was home to receive a scholarship to take an Assignment and Editorial Photography class at Photo Center Northwest. I was home to start and finish a documentary photo project on my lovely Grandmother and her life of retirement. I was home to listen to her phone conversations with her Brother, and to watch her get her home ready for the holidays. I was home to go to Phoenix and Sedona Arizona with my parents and visit my Godfather. I was home to celebrate his 70th birthday with him and I was home to bake five cakes for his birthday into the wee hours of the morning with my cousin Andy. I was home to volunteer as a dispatcher for RightRides, an amazing organization that offers free rides home in the greater NYC area to women and members of the LGBTQ community to cut down on gender based violence. I was home get such amazing cascade powder shots to the face at 3:30 in the afternoon while killing runs at Stevens Pass with Dad. I was home to start a T-shirt company with a friend from high school. I was home to prepare our own home for Christmas, to get Santa pictures at Nordstrom, and to celebrate one of the most love-filled and festive Christmases of my entire life.
I am realizing more often that stabilizing withdrawal is dependent on shifting perspectives on the meaning of life and the pursuit of meaning.
While I list off 430 words that link phrases of written memory making, I know I have not noted it all and for that I feel so incredibly blessed. I won’t bore you with much more, only to say I have yet to give up the travel high. Home is a beautiful place filled with the greatest of people, yet I can’t help but feel my home expanding. As a globalization baby, home’s boarders are expanding and even erasing. How amazing it is to theorize that one day people will believe that home is not finite, beauty is everywhere and great people are not limited to specified blood lines.
Love to you all. Keep embracing it, life that is.