I’ve gotten used to short term homes. I am a mover. I move in and out of leases, roommates, and neighborhoods swiftly. Not by choice, but because of logistics and the natural turnover that is college. The past four years of my life have been dominated by planning for my next move. Four years. Six homes. Three cities.
This is what it is to live a life in transition: When I buy things I think of them in terms of how easy they will be to move. Most of the time, I don’t buy things at all. I don’t own dishes, pots, spatulas, or throw pillows. I own an iron skillet, a french press, and two mugs. That’s it. My furniture is scuffed from moving up and down stairs and through small doorways with crooked frames. The ceramic knobs on my secondhand dresser are mismatched and chipped. I’ve begrudgingly got rid of my books over the years: first to go was high school required reading (Ray Bradbury, Shakespeare). Now treasured books are making the cut (garage sale impulse buys, the classics, political philosophy hardcovers).
Although my possessions (or lack thereof) have suffered, I have gained much. I have gained tradition, dear friends, quirky vagabond neighbors, and adopted family. I have many homes: A college dorm room complete with a southern ballerina roommate with a good weed connection, A bleak apartment in the Latino neighborhood of a big city, a three story brick house converted from a early 20th century doctors office, a gigantic white house near a college campus with a shifting foundation, and an Anthropologie decorated home where there was always an abundance of vegan cookies in the cookie jar.
While living in each of these homes I have faced post-high school pre-adult angst of all different kinds. But fortunately along with these places there were people who helped me cope with the constant change. With these friends I traveled near and far, and when we would finally return to that place we could look at one another, sigh with gratitude, and say “we’re home.” We would stay in our pajamas until noon on a Saturday, beginning but never finishing crafts and conversations. Traditions were formed and practiced, along with identities and nicknames. Through this college vagabondry we found something unique and worthwhile in each other; something that is bigger than that house on east campus or the run down apartment on the south side. Living life with people, on a porch with a beer in your hand, is a beautiful thing. That’s all I’ll ever really need to feel home.
With college behind me, I get to find a new home now. I think I found one with some potential. Soon enough I’ll be throwing all of my mismatched, nicked up furniture into a trailer and driving to this place. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to finally buy some throw pillows.