Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is

A couple of weeks ago, while eating shabbat dinner, I was telling my hostess how much I am loving everything about Mile High life.  The ridiculously perfect weather.  The laid back but sophisticated culture.  The buzz of activity.  The fit, friendly people.  "Great," she said, but "does Denver felt like home yet?"  I didn't have to think.  No.  Not yet.

And then, just like that, came Friday May 11, 2012.

Very early in the morning on Thursday May 10, I flew to Columbus, Ohio for a work project.  Columbus is where I had lived from February 2006 until this past August, 2011.  A fabulous friend greeted me at the Columbus airport, and we stopped for a quick but lovely coffee catch- up chat before I had to report for work.  The project kept me busy until fairly late into the evening, but I was able to meet up with some of my favorite people for a glass of wine at one of my favorite (old) neighborhood spots before crashing in a friend's guest room.

A very long Friday morning meeting later, a quick drive-by my old house, and I was back on a plane to Denver.

I felt it the minute I got off the plane.  I was home.  Denver, Colorado is my home.

Had I needed to step back in order to move forward?  Was the "Columbus is no longer your home" trigger in my cerebral cortex set off when I slept in a friend's guest room even though just around the corner stood the house where my son took his first steps, and where I brought my newborn daughter from the hospital?  Perhaps there is some mathematical theorem supporting the hypothesis that it takes nine months of living in a new city for it to start to feel like home.

Or, maybe, I don't know, just maybe, I am finally, simply, ready.  100%.  To move on.


I will do all of those things.  And I am moving on.

In her new book "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake," one of my favorite authors, Anna Quindlen, reflects on her approach towards the age of 60.  At one point, she ponders whether just like there is a resting heart rate, perhaps there is also a resting age rate.  I.e., the age you naturally feel.  And Quindlen writes, "If you woke me from a sound sleep and shouted, “How old are you?” I suspect I’d mutter, “Forty-one.” 

Quindlen then writes ... "And if you woke me up from a sound sleep and shouted, “How’s 60 looking?” I would murmur, “Good. Really good.  Better, in many ways, than 41."

Maybe there's a resting home rate for people who move around a lot.  Not a resting-home as in where I might be living in fifty years or so, but place where I naturally feel like I live.

I suspect that if you woke me from a sound sleep and shouted, "Where are you from?" I would say Newport News, Virginia.  Although its been 27 years since I had an address there, its where I was born, and where I spent the first thirteen years of my life accepted, embraced, and celebrated by a large extended family.

I also suspect that if you woke me from a sound sleep and shouted, "How's your home now?" I would murmur, "Everything I always dreamed of."  And I suspect, hell, I know, that my answer would have nothing to do with location.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't often quote wisdom from my father.  But he did say something a lot when I was growing up that, well, damn if it didn't turn out to be true.  "Home is where the heart is."

Home is where the heart is.  Where you choose to raise your children.  Love your husband.  Build a community.  Be a friend.  Keep learning.  Keep living.  Grow old.

Hello, Denver, Colorado.  Here I am.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Old is Wherever You Haven't Gotten to Yet."

"There was a time when I behaved as though I were the center of the universe.  It was a good time, when I was young and eager and terribly insecure and not beholden to anyone else, without responsibility for houses or children or the cleanup after a disaster.  I just like this time better.  I used to wonder what I was going to be when I grew up.  Now I know."

-Anna Quindlen