|Lake Tahoe: My second and fourth home|
“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”
I don’t have a place that I consider to be my hometown.
There is a place where I was born. There is a place where I lost my first tooth. There is a place where I played baseball with the neighborhood kids. There is a place where I had my first kiss. There is a place where I graduated high school. These aren’t all the same places.I don’t have a home where my height was marked in crayon on the wall. I don’t have a local coffee shop where everyone knows my name. I don’t live in a house where my great-great grandparents were raised.
I went to one preschool, two elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. My family moved once before I started school, again in Kindergarten, again in sixth grade, and we’re moving once again. I thought this type of nomadic lifestyle was normal. I thought everyone lived in a place for four to six years and then moved on. I had no idea that some people spent every year of their life in the same house.I’m a little nostalgic at times, because I know that I can never go back to these memories, but I’m not sad. But here’s the thing: I learned so much from each of these moves. I learned a lot from living in different places around different groups of people. Each thing I learned helped shape me into the person I’ve become and I’m really proud of that.
- Sometimes you miss the memories, not the place. Great memories can be made anywhere. I have fun memories from every place that I’ve lived and I’m confident that I can make more anywhere I go. Any place can be fun and any place you’ve been will always hold a memory for you. I loved all my friends in San Bernardino, but I don’t always miss the thick smog that prevented me from seeing the mountains, the crime that scared my mother into not letting me go outside alone, and the traffic that made a ten mile commute into an hour.
- The place doesn’t always change, but the people always do. Each time I moved, it wasn’t the last time I’d ever see the place I moved from. I would often go back and visit. I would call my friends, get together, and catch up on all that I had missed. I went back to the place where I attended elementary school for five years and middle school for one. Some of my close friends had boyfriends and, after I had moved, that circle of friends had all but disbanded. After their first year of middle school, they didn’t hang out like we used to. Things were different. I missed each and every one of my friends, but I realized that we all had moved on. We all had different things we were now interested in.
- Home is where your family is. A lot of people think of home as a place. Once you move around a few times, home becomes wherever your family is. It’s liberating to not feel tied down to a place and you begin to realize that being around people is more important than being in a place could ever be.
- You don’t have to have your roots in only one place. It’s ok to feel at home in more than one place. You can like the place you were born, the place you graduated high school, the place you graduated college, the place you had your first job… They will always mean something to you and you will always feel at home there. You don’t have to have just one hometown.
- You can belong anywhere you want. It’s not scary to leave your hometown once you realize that more than one place can be home. It’s not as scary to move in somewhere different or with someone new because you realize that you can go anywhere you want.
- It’s okay to leave. All of the above reasons are things you learn when you move. You start to realize all these things after your first move and it can give you the courage to take opportunities and leave again because you know everything is going to be okay.
- You will move on. I’ve learned a lot from all of my moves, but I haven’t forgotten anyone. It’s almost always sad to leave a place you consider home. There are certain memories I have in places that I can’t make up somewhere else. But eventually, the sadness subsides and it’s replaced with a feeling of adventure. I love meeting the new people and seeing new places. It’s exciting to go somewhere new and just because you’re sad to leave doesn’t mean you will be sad forever. There will be some places you like more than others and some are harder to leave, but it will always be okay.