There’s a theme in my life: the search for a place. Or a sense of place, at least.
I’m always thinking about where I’ll be when I finally land where I will be. You see the problem: this is inherently circular.
Where will I be when I’m there?
There, I guess.
But where is that?
Where I’ll be.
I long for it. I get wistful walking through pleasing neighborhoods. When I like one particularly I visit it frequently, lurking around with longing. Most recently it’s the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of DC, which occasionally still gets away with styling itself a “village.”
It’s leafy. That’s the major thing. I think I could thrive anywhere if the trees are big and green around me. And it has that lived-in feeling, especially right now when the weather is abnormally good. It’s all people gardening, sitting on stoops drinking iced tea and shouting kindly with their neighbors from a safe distance. There are lots of Little Free Libraries, which I’m getting better about not automatically laying hands on. And I imagine the insides of the houses: tasteful art, comfortable couches for reading in, dappled natural light from the backyard, which I imagine is similarly leafy and has great places to sit as warm twilight comes on.
It’s not even so much that I want to be there; it’s that I want to be the kind of person I imagine I would instantly become if I were there. Relaxed, capacious. I’d read during the daytime, rather than just for five or ten minutes with eyes half-closed at bedtime. I’d probably know my neighbors, invite each other over for tea, that kind of thing. I’d take up crafting.
Why this longing? I’ve moved a lot over the last 14 years, not only between apartments but also states, from coast to coast and halfway in between. Depending on how you count, it’s somewhere between 16 times (unique top-level street addresses) and 25 times (every time I moved all my stuff from one room or apartment to another). That’s…bonkers.
And in all these moves, I’ve clung to a sense of the temporary. This is just for now. This is just in these weird circumstances. There’s never been a decision of ah, this is forever.
That’s what I see in my lurk-walks through leafy places. The dream of finally being the sort of person who goes ah, this is forever.
Or, because we know that God laughs when we make plans/sweeping statements, at least “ah, this is not actively temporary. I will not sabotage my happiness by keeping one foot in and one foot out.”
That’s the dream. More to come.