I just want to stay in one place.
Everyone’s talking about traveling and backpacking and places to go and people to see. I’ll tell you what. I’ve traveled. I’ve been and seen and met. I’ve done busses and taxis and airplanes and subways and motorcycles. I’ve done Paraguay and Washington DC and New York City and the Dominican Republic. And I’m done.
I don’t want two homes. I don’t want homes all over the world. I don’t want a heart spread so thin that on the days when I need it most, it doesn’t have the stamina to beat. I don’t want friends in different time zones. I don’t want to have to ask, “So what have you been up to for the past five years?” I don’t want to watch friends’ kids grow up in pictures. I don’t want to be a guest for weeks at a time.
I want one home. One home full of my stuff, surrounded by my friends, close to a job that pays me. One home that maybe has a cat or a dog in it that doesn’t die or get pregnant or run away because it has my full attention.
I don’t want to worry about Visas and passports and customs and layovers and baggage fees. I don’t want to read all of my books in pdfs. I want to go to the library.
I want the ocean. And languages. And people different from myself.
I want new things and new conversations and learning experiences. I want to ride on motorcycles and stand under waterfalls. I want to see caves and mountains and eat food I’ve never heard of before. I want to pet lots of dogs and I want to really loudly and in a high-pitched voice say, “KITTY!” whenever I see a cat. And although going for five years without a hug is kind of a bummer, that hug five-years-in-the-making is pretty satisfying.
I want to grow as a person, learn new things, try new things, do new things, make new things, say new things. I want to be fluent in a second language. I want to be braver in relationships. I want to be a better teacher. I want to be proud of my accomplishments. I want to honor God. I want to pray for people, out loud and in love. I want to introduce people to things I love, like the movie Titanic and the dice game Farkle.
Life is hard when you’re expectations are high.
I will live this life. I will praise God every single day because His mercies are new and His steadfast love is the same. Hallelujah. I will press on. I will take a day off to cry and sleep and mourn goodbyes. I will get on that plane, ride that bus, take that taxi and chase down those pieces of my heart that I’ve left all over the place, chasing down those hugs, those conversations, those moments of peace that are so coveted amid the chaos.
I will cry because maybe my house isn’t ready for a cat or a dog or a husband or a baby or all the books I wish I had. Maybe my house isn’t ready for me twelve months a year. But how fortunate am I to have more than one house with more than one bed and more than one safe place to land? I will cry because people love me enough to share their time, their homes, their money, and their stories with me. I will cry tears of loss, frustration, gratitude, and triumph. I will own my emotions and not feel less than because of my sometimes silly tears.
I will be positive. I will learn. I will forgive myself. I will forgive others. I will ask for help. I will admit weakness and frustration and fear. And then I will pray. And then I will conquer. Because the Almighty is on my side and I have been well-equipped.
I will do what I don’t want to do because I believe that this life I have chosen is the very best one I could live. I won’t focus on the negative and the drudgery because whining and complaining don’t help. I will go to new places, because despite my love for consistency and routine, I have yet to decline an opportunity to go somewhere new. I will commit or quit.
You only live once, right? I better make it count.