my search for home

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Home. Home is where you hang your hat. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever I’m with you.

Lately I have been evaluating what home is for me. In the past I have always associated it with a location. For a good portion of my life, Fargo was home. Where my parents were. Where my friends and memories lived. But the mountains have always called my name, and over time Utah started to feel more like home. Where I belonged. Where my people were. Where my adventures happened.

Over the past four years, home has transitioned from a place to more of a concept. I had created a home with someone else. Wherever we were, that is where home was. We had each other and our dog. Our family. My family.

For the past six months I have felt, in a sense, homeless. I have lost those things that defined what home was for me. I have a physical home, but that home has become a display of an old life being covered up with a few new paintings and photos in the picture frames. I still find puppy hairs woven into the fibers of fabrics. I still expect to find someone waiting for me when I open the door.

But I have found solace in the company of some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I’ve gotten joy out of little things I never expected, like having my own room again, planning my own day, watching hours and hours of Doctor Who with no judgment, cooking the same meal everyday for a month. And of course moments of home come when I get up in the mountains. But to be honest, I have struggled to make a home of my own. A life of my own. I have found myself searching for a person to find home in, and the reality is that there isn’t. Not for now anyway. Sure, I could just latch on to the next person that would let me, revolve my life around them, forget and distract myself from the pains and triumphs of moving on. But that really wouldn’t solve anything or help me progress like I want and need to.

I actually feel really lucky to have the opportunity find a home within myself, because really at the end of the day, all we have are ourselves. Our friends, spouses, children, pets, possessions, may be with us and even help define us, but really, if you can’t be with yourself, what do you have to share and give to someone else?

I’ve grown attached to Utah. In a big way. Growing up I always dreamed of moving here someday. And since I have, though I’ve taken breaks from it, always come back. It has everything I want in a place to live and I really think I could stay here forever and be happy. But for reasons that are too complicated to explain, my season in Utah is coming to an end. I always thought Utah would feel like home, but for right now, it doesn’t. Right now it’s a place that constantly reminds me of what I used to have and who I used to be. And that is hard to face when I’m in a time of life where I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I want without those things.

Another part of this whole thing that I cannot escape is that I’m a wanderer. It’s in my blood. I can’t ignore it, and I will never get it out of my system. And now that I have no place to call my home, my desire to wander has increased like I would have never expected. I thought I was ready to settle, but not yet.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I’m packing up and moving out. Selling as many of my belongings as I can, fitting whatever I have left in my car, and hitting the refresh button on my life. Moving on to my search for home.

So why not start in a place that still is home to me in a lot of ways? That’s right, folks. I’m heading back to the plains for a little bit. It may seem like I’m just running back to my hometown, into the arms of my parents, free of obligation, a step back. Yes, I will be happy to be around my family and some of the comforts that only a hometown can give, but it’s just a stepping stone. I’m moving back with a purpose. A way to pay off some debts, save up, spend time at the lakes, and enjoy the Midwestern life before I wander some more. And I’ve got plans people. Big plans. Who knew that Fargo would play a part in me getting there? Oh that Fargo, always full of surprises.

 So I’m planning on leaving in a few weeks. Mid-Septemberish. If you are in Utah, make sure you come and see me before I leave. If you are in Fargo, start preparing yourself, mentally and emotionally, for my arrival. If you are in neither of those places, stay put. I’m sure I’ll pass through one of these days.

Oh, and welcome to my new blog. Please follow, comment, check in whenever you fancy. There will be many more ramblings to come.

life after death: for penny and jared

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Death. It's such an odd thing to fathom. It is so hard to grasp that cultures around the world have developed entire civilizations trying to make sense of it all. Most people spend their whole lives afraid of it. In our culture, we lock it up in a wooden box and burry it in the ground, with only an engraved stone as a reminder.

In the east, they display their dead. They keep the bodies with them, display them in the streets, and then send them down a river; the same river in which they bathe, drink, and use for a bathroom. To them, death is not something to burry. It is a part of the human experience, as much as drinking and bathing. 

With most religions you spend your whole life preparing for death, and in some cases fearing it. When you die you will be judged based on how good or bad you were in this life. Heaven and hell are your only options. Unfortunately, there are so many people living through hell in order to get to heaven. 

And why is that? What is it about death that gets everyone so worked up? As much as we prepare for it, fear it, honor it, for the most part, it's out of our control. So the only thing that makes sense to me is to not focus on death, but on life. Living in the moment, creating "heaven" in the here and now. 

Within the past month, I have lost two people very dear to me. My Aunt Penny died as a result of a lifetime of health complications, and my good friend Jared died in an accident. One more or less expected, the other a total shock. 

Now this isn't my first time with death. I have lost friends in accidents before. I have witnessed loved ones pass because of illnesses. Those passings hurt my soul, but there is something different about the deaths of these two. Perhaps it is because where I'm at in life. Perhaps it's because I have a different belief system now. Or perhaps it's because I'm personally going through my own cycle of births and deaths with different situations in my life. But in the midst of the heartaches of these passings, there is something beautiful I have learned. 

Penny and Jared both lived their lives full of light. Despite a lifetime of health problems, my Aunt was a fighter. She was brilliant, talented, an amazing mother and wife, and never let her illnesses define her. She truly lived life while constantly staring down death. 

Jared was seriously one of the funniest people I know. He was outrageous, hyper, up for anything, and one of the most loyal and loving friends anyone could have ever wanted. He had his own challenges in life, but still remained a light for those around him. 

Yes, their deaths were tragic and thinking of life without them is hard, but there is life after death, and I'm not talking about the afterlife. We, the ones they left behind, are still alive. There is still life in us, and that is something to celebrate. 

For some people, myself included, just simply living can be a trial. There are days where death seems inviting. And death can be a choice, and some people choose it. But in a strange way, mourning and accepting the death of my loved ones has made me marvel at the human experience and choose life. And not just choose it to get by, but to really live it. 

Both Penny and Jared really lived it. They left behind a legacy, be it of beautiful children, loved ones, fond memories, or crazy stories. And it made me realize that I want that. When my time is up, I want a loving family gathered around feeling a bond that only a family can feel. I want my friends to stay up until all hours of the night reminiscing and re-telling the adventures that we had. I want people to gather and celebrate a life well-lived. And I want those in my life to know that I love them. To some that seems like a give in, but to me, I never really thought about it before and have spent many years just checking the days off of a calendar.

And so I want to thank Penny and Jared for teaching me that. It was an honor to be even just a small part of their lives. And no matter what really happens to us after we die, there will always be life to celebrate. 

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln