Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Home

As many of  you  know, I moved from Southern California to Portland, Oregon last October.  The reasons behind the move are varied, and the act of picking up and moving a long distance is traumatic enough.  To say I downsized in order to move to Portland would be an understatement; though I held on to many of my cherished belongings, and put the most important things in my little car and drove north.  The rest of my things stayed in storage.

Last week, I returned to Southern California to retrieve my items out of storage.  There was more stuff in that little storage facility than I had remembered.  So there I was, once again discarding more items and repacking. It was emotional. I kept telling myself that it was only "stuff."  But it was my stuff!  Every object had history behind it.  Since not everything could fit in the car or in my new place in Portland, I inevitably had to let even more things go. Downsizing again.  But my motto has always been less is more, so I guess it's a good thing.  I guess...

On the drive back to Portland, I got to thinking about the meaning of home.  Southern California is so familiar to me.  I know where everything is; my family lives there and it was my home for many, many years.  But I never truly felt like I belonged there.  I always felt like I was on the outside looking in.  I've lived in many different cities and I've always had that similar feeling...that I was an outsider.  And so, because of that, I've moved around a lot...hoping to one day find the place that clicked.  That one day I could identify with a certain city and truly call it home.

Is Portland home?  I'm not sure yet.  I still have mixed feelings about this place, but I haven't even been here a year so it's too soon to tell.  I like it here a lot, but it takes more than that to make a place a home.  I am doing the best I can; finding ways to become part of the Portland community.  There are many opportunities here, so I have hope that I will one day hunker down and feel that this is where I belong.

For now, I simply ponder what it means to call a place "home."  Yes, now all my stuff is in one place and that feels good.  Secure.  But I need something more...yet whatever that something is, remains elusive.  I hope I find it here in Portland.  I'm not sure I have another long distance move in me.  Not for awhile anyway.  So I'm hunkering down...putting the books on the shelves and the pictures on the wall.  And for today, I am home. 

4 comments:

MikeB said...

I hope you continue to enjoy all the good things you have in Portland while you decide whether to call it "home."

Thom Brown said...

I have lived here for 36 years - yet I've never seen it as "home." What I consider "home" is nothing like it was when it became "home." I'm not sure where that leaves me.

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MikeB said...

My neighborhood has changed in the 27 years I have lived here (in the same house). More cars are parked on the street (it's very crowded), nice trees were cut down (so we are in a concrete jungle), some new residents are running a car repair business, I think (in their garage and on the street), there are far fewer little kids on the block (not as much joyful playing and laughter outside).

But I am home when I walk into my house, to the loving arms of my wife, to the comfort of the books on my shelves, to my computer (a line to the world). And my connections to the community are here: Some great neighbors. My three best friends each close by (none more than a 50-minute drive from my house). Several family members nearby. And more.

Growing up, I attended lot of different schools: 1 kindergarten, 3 grade schools, 3 junior high schools, and 3 high schools (my father was a career military officer, so we moved often). So there never was a permanent home.

I have now lived in one area of the country for almost 40 years. I have lived at 7 different addresses, all within about 20 miles of each other.

So I guess I must be home.