Today I was reading an entry in Theresa's journal that has to do with home, and with moving to a new home. It got me thinking about the different places I've lived. Here's the list I've come up with:
1) Ages 0-5, my family of 6 (once my little brother was born when I was 3, anyway) lived in a small one-story house, out in the country. My parents bred cocker spaniels; country cats roamed around our property, although none officially belonged to us. I don't remember a lot. I do remember one Christmas (probably when I was 4 or 5). All that I wanted was a Cabbage Patch Kid, but when we opened (what I thought were) all of the gifts from Santa, I did not get one (although my sister did). I was disappointed until my dad pulled a wrapped box out from under the chair he was sitting on--then I got my treasured doll, Libby. We were very happy together. I also remember my sister and I knocking on the wall to communicate with my brother in the next room. We had a secret code for the knocks. Being included in my older brother and sister's game felt very special, very important.
2) Ages 6-18, my family and I lived in a white two-story house on the corner, in a small town. My parents still live at the house. This is where the childhood I remember played out. Sometimes I catch myself still calling it "home" (although not as frequently as I used to).
3) Ages 18-20, I lived in a dorm room at BGSU (with one 3-month pause for summer break). I stayed in the same room for two years, although I had a different roommate each year. It's amazing how much time I spent in that small square room, and amazing how much I learned about myself and the world in that space! I wouldn't want to live in a dorm again (ever, I don't think), but I certainly enjoyed it at that point in my life.
4) Ages 20-22, I lived in various places. I lived in 3 different apartments in BGSU. I lived in a dorm suite at Georgetown University, D.C., for a summer internship. Each of these apartments had its own dynamic. Each also had hair brush concerts and a lot of other such silliness. I built strong bonds with amazing young women, many of whom are still my friends.
5) Ages 22-24. After a short stay at my parent's house after graduating from college, I moved to Pennsylvania and took up residence in the third floor of an old, beautiful, large house. This was the first home that I could call my very own, and it will always be special to me for that reason. The ceilings were low, and they sloped on the sides (because of the shape of the roof). There was no shower (only a bathtub) or dishwasher (only a sink), and the stairs to my door were narrow and winding. But I loved that apartment. Although I was often lonely while I was there, it was a good place to spend that tough transition from "college life" to the "rest of life."
6) Age 24. I spent 6 months living in a one-bedroom apartment near Philadelphia. It was 1 of 6 apartments in a huge Victorian house. Although perhaps the most beautiful apartment I've lived in (high ceilings, tall windows, beautiful hardwood floors), I was unhappy there and never really settled in. I was happy to leave.
7) Age 24. I spent 1 month, between jobs, between lives, living with my boyfriend at that time. A month free and clear to do as one pleases seems enviable, but I was restless, wandering, miserable.
8) Ages 24-present. I now live in a two-story house with my roommate. It is a lovely place to live, although I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and wonder--"where am I?" And then I wonder ... will any place ever feel as much like "home" as did the house I grew up in? Does "home" have more to do with how long you live in a place, or how stable and comfortable you feel while living there? If it is the latter, I doubt I'll ever recapture the utter comfort of my childhod again. That thought actually used to bother me a lot more than it does now, though. I think some amount of dis-settlement can be good. It keeps you striving and thinking. It keeps you searching for a home, which you might find in a hundred different places--a job, a friend, a lover, a story.
And now for those of you who haven't responded to Theresa's post, a question: Where have you lived?