Home is where the heart is. We all understand that, right? We have heard it a million times. We know the concept. But where is the heart? Where do you place it? Where have you anchored it?
I believe the reason that our house and our city and the people in our lives may at times begin to feel distant is because we move our heart. We pack it up, move it out and start heading out of town…often without consulting the people in our lives and without much thought as to why and where we are heading. We grow and change and our heart wants for something more. Something different. Something other-than.
It can be a saving grace, a scapegoat or a ticket out of dodge, but the heart has a way of leading us. At times we know where and when and why, and other times we are like children “playing pin the tail on the donkey” – spinning around in the dark just hoping we land in the right spot.
My life this year has been a bit pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-esque.
All of a sudden, my home was gone. While my loved ones and beautiful house and all I had know for the last 11 plus years was still around me, my sense of home was fading. I felt like a visitor in my own town. And just like that, I knew it was time to go. My heart was leading me somewhere else. It was time.
Many times before, I had dreamed of moving to a new city – but for reasons neither here nor there, it never came to fruition. Maybe it was because I was running away. Maybe it was because I had more to learn, more to love and more to see there. Maybe it just wasn’t time.
Explaining my desire to move wasn’t the easiest thing. I framed it by saying it was a strategic career move, that I needed a larger city with more culture, and somewhat jokingly that I had dated my way through the city and that there were no men left for me to meet. But the truth of the matter is, and was, that it was no longer my home.
For eight months I searched. I drove hundreds of miles for “meet and greets”, networked my little heart out and all but tattooed it on my forehead that I was trying to move – and yet it didn’t come.
Was my heart steering me wrong? Was my gut lying to me? Was I wrong?
Then I got quiet. I went back to the drawing board. I laid it all out on the table and took a good hard look at my motivation, my inspiration and what would be a logical next step. I had felt so compelled. So drawn. So lured, that I had gone sprinting into the night without my flashlight or road map or cell phone. I was blindly chasing my winged-heart.
Once I centered myself and tried again, I came up with a new plan. A new thought. And just like that, the pieces just fell into place. In a turn of events that can only be described as magical or fated or destined, my city found me. In just under one month, my thought had become my reality, and I was home.
I remember when I visited San Francisco for the first time. I was eleven years old and my family and flown in from Wisconsin to visit my aunt and uncle in the city. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. To me, it was like a dream. I remember white lilies, steep hills, bustling crowds and breathtaking beauty everywhere we went. I vowed right then and there that I would one day live here.
But like so many childhood dreams, it was put in a box on the shelf and long-ago forgotten about.
I have lived here for 24 days now and already this is my home.
During my first week here I met with a dear old friend who upon seeing me, said “Welcome home.” Tears welled in my eyes as I realized it was true. My heart had not taken me to a far-off destination filled with adventure and culture and new loves to be had (though I do hope it will), it had taken me home.
And while I do understand that home is where the heart is (and you carry it with you), it will also guide and lead you, and sometimes you have to answer the call.