It’s move-in weekend; the bluntest reminder that I have two homes. My definition of home is roughly 4 parts people and 2 parts geography, and I don’t want to write to the idea of being grateful for places (today, anyway). So, to finish a piece I’ve been working on for weeks about the amazing people I have in my life, I want to talk about the wonderful phenomenon of realizing you have more people that you know (or remember) you do.
My two homes include the one I grew up in, and the one I made for myself when I left for college. My first transitional period of leaving one place and claiming another was one of the most difficult and lonely times – at first – but the magic to that drastic change was that it showed me who I had. And, more than that, it gave me new people. It was a time when my world felt uprooted and, consequently, so small that I regularly counted whom I had to go to. Only, I didn’t count everyone. There were people I forgot or was too preoccupied or scared to reach out to.
I have come to acknowledge this miscounting of the army of those I rely on and gain perspective, inspiration, and help from as a bad habit. I’m doing my best to break it.
Thankfully, in the last two years, I’ve made so many friendships. Some last days, some last semesters, and some have lasted from the first day of move-in freshman year and continue to grow stronger. In any case, I’ve appreciated crossing paths. I’ve also tried to strengthen old connections; I’ve realized the value of a coffee date and good conversation or even weekly phone calls with friends who have known me since elementary school. These small efforts show people that they matter to you, and I’m doing my best to do better at that because the crux of my bad habit is focusing too hard on a few and forgetting that I have, like I said, many wonderful people in my life.
The biggest lesson I learned during my rough transition into college was the importance of allowing my two homes to coexist peacefully, to appreciate each for their different qualities. And so, I have to connect that lesson to people, as they are what I think of before physical locations. What I mean is, the phrases ‘my family’ or my ‘best friends’ include people that have never met or lived in the same place or even know what my daily life looks like. And that’s fine – the point is that if I picked up a phone or got on a train or a bus or a plane or needed any kind of advice – from writing to life – someone would be there, someone would answer. It’s my instinct to want to organize and thus quantify how many someone’s I have, but the premise of this entire idea is that I can’t – and that that is the greatest thing The Universe has shown me so far.
Here’s to a great school year of being surrounded and supported (no matter the distance) by those who make you feel like you matter.
(Image from Pinterest.)