“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?”
Some friends I’ve met since moving 70 miles from New York say I’m “urban”. “Citified”.
And some friends from New York find this hysterical, as they believe I’ve abandoned myself to the wilderness.
I disagree with them both.
Instead I just feel lucky. I’ve been to dozens of countries and states and there are many places I like. But I love where I live.
In an hour or two, I can be in the second biggest city on the planet. (In passing: if you won’t drive in Manhattan, I may not say it to your face, but I admit here and now that I think you’re a baby. Also if you can’t parallel park. That may be “urban” of me but it’s true. ) New York is a chaotic explosion of creativity and activity and life and has a corner of my heart that no place else does. Theatre and media and cuisine and museums and shops – and several of the biggest airports in the country – all a couple of hours away.
Ah, but the key is? I get to leave. I get to leave that big noisy mess and exhale. I get to be at home.
On the way there, you go over a mountain. The western slope has dips and valleys with fields and farms tucked into them. The top is covered in trees, and the road cuts through the mountain’s stone at the peak, so in winter you drive through a roofless tunnel of shimmering icicles. In the summer, as you come over the top, you see a dozen hot-air balloons on sunrise or sunset flights. It makes my heart happy. And that’s where I know I’m almost home.
The kids on my street are outside playing. It’s quiet. The trees surround me. And I admit my secret definition of belonging: I run into people I know. That’s mundane and suburban. But I’m finally coming to terms with realizing… I am suburban. And like Dorothy Gale was saying, if you can’t find peace and happiness in the commonplaces of life, you’ll never find it anywhere.
So while I never would’ve expected it, this is home. I haven’t belonged someplace in a very long time, and it’s hard to describe how much it means.