On Going Home

I always am struck with the same strange feeling on my return flights to California.

Am I going home? Or did I just leave home?

It’s a mixture of excitement, sadness, relief and gratitude. Excitement to head back to where my life is, the sunshine and lovely San Diego weather, and in this instance, having Mike pick me up at the airport for a change. Sadness to leave my family, knowing I won’t be seeing them or any of my East coast friends for at least a little while. Relief to get back to my “norm;” to settle back into my daily routine, head back to work, get back into my workout grind and reacquaint myself with the familiar. And gratitude: for having people that I love this much in my life, and the beautiful memories we just created.

I always feel an overwhelming sadness when I say good-bye to my parents at the DC airport. "Why am I leaving?” I always think. "Why am I heading across the country to somewhere so far from so many of the people I care so much about?” And then on the flight back to California, I regain some of my independent routine; reading, scheduling and readjusting back to "on-my-own" life. Then, ~six hours later, I return to my home in San Diego and all its familiar aspects. The sadness dissipates. I’m happy (and lucky!) to be where I am.

Growing up in a military family and relocating every few years always skewed the concept of “home” for me a little bit. Even now I have trouble with the idea of calling one place “home” for the rest of my life. Rolling stone syndrome, I guess. And yet, I am so happy to have a central place that anchors me to my immediate family and friends... it really does feel like home. People always say that home is where the heart is. They’re right, of course, but I don’t think that necessarily narrows it down to one place.

These past few days were wonderful. Spending quality time with my family and seeing how lovingly they welcomed Mike into the fold with open arms makes a lump form in my throat now as I write this. At the same time, I’m so excited to get back to San Diego and start a new chapter of my life, where Mike is actually (physically) there. It will definitely change the dynamic of my life, maybe even change me perception of “home.” I’m not sure yet.

I’m typing all this out from somewhere over the United States (from the looks of my interactive personal TV screen, somewhere over Kansas), so I’m clearly left with lots of time to think. How do you define “home?” That is, if you can apply a singular definition to it. I don’t think I can, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Thoughts?

Welcoming Mike back to the U.S. upon his (last) arrival from Naples! Welcome home, Mike :)