Growing up in a military family, life was always temporary, impermanent, and home was where every we happened to be at any given moment. When I gave the eulogy at my mom’s funeral, I said that she was our home. She gave us roots, a sense of permanence, a place to land on our feet and rest without fear or uncertainty.
I learned some valuable life lessons by that existence. I learned to walk into a room of strangers and make a place for myself. I learned that a smile will bring strangers to your side and they will want to be your friend even if their approach is out of nothing more than curiosity. I learned not to become too attached – to anything. That is the only lesson I have allowed myself to cast aside. I learned that you have to rely on yourself first and foremost because, sometimes, that is all you will have. I had to take care of myself, fill my own needs, entertain myself, and find activities that were fulfilling in themselves. Maybe I am a solitary person as an adult because as a child, I had to learn to be.
When I grew up, the thing I wanted most was a permanent home in a small community where I would know everyone and live for 50 or 60 years. I wanted friends with whom I could share memories instead of just pictures of people pasted in an album, their names long forgotten.
I managed to find the home of which I had dreamed only to discover that it too was temporary. It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. But, as I slide down the far side of the mountain I struggled so hard to climb, I’ve come to enjoy a life of anonymity with the permanent connections reserved for the few souls who reside in my heart rather than brick and mortar. They are our true home, after all, the only one that really matters.