A Life Collage

Wolf Creek Pass

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“And what is home, anyway, but what we cobble together out of our changing selves.” (Abigail Thomas, A Three Dog Life)

 As I drove through the mountains last Friday, I found myself holding back tears. Tears from beauty, tears of loss, tears of the unknown.

I drove into Durango, CO with my heart singing, “Welcome Home!” but my mind screaming, “This is no longer home. You cannot come back.”

And yet the people I visit want me to come back. My familiarity with the place begs for me to come back. My discomfort with my current home urges me to come back.

Yet, coming back is no guarantee that it would be the right choice. Too many things have happened to make that an easy solution. No, our solution lies elsewhere, and our home requires a different solution.

Judy, the wonderful woman we are staying with, handed me Abigail Thomas’ memoir when I requested some reading material. The whole book resonated with me on many different levels. But the above quote leaped off the page as I am on my current journey. I am on vacation, but I am also on an internal journey–a journey of realization, recognition, and confrontation.

Over the past few days I’ve had lots of conversations, as I reconnect with friends I left a little over a year ago. Friends I left not because I wanted to, but because I did not see another option. Of course, they all want details of my past year. As I provided the details of my life I had the first revelation–I am happy with many of the professional experiences I’ve had this year. True, some things (like the classes from hell and the battle between athletics and the arts) made life a cruel challenge. But, on a personal and professional growth level, I’ve learned so much this year and it has been more successful than some of my experiences in Durango.

Several of the people I’ve talked to have asked why I am not happy. What’s wrong with Kansas?

I can’t fully answer that question except to say that it is not home. I do not feel like I match the place. But, if home is “what we cobble together out of our changing selves” could I turn the place into home? Well, it is possible, but I don’t know that I will ever fully succeed.

Yet, that is not the root of my unhappiness. I’ve realized the root of it now. I understand it more. I can’t write too much about it at the moment, because I need to deal with it head on first. But understanding it is a step in the right direction. Understanding it will help me fix it, and help me create the home I yearn for–a home I can carry with me no matter where we land, or what path my career takes.

Our journey through life is not a straight one, and mine has been incredibly complex. But with every journey, every choice, every word, and every dream I add to an amazing life collage that can only keep growing in layers and wonder.

That is a life worth living.

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