Editor’s note: As both of my children are now studying in the United States, I get a lot of questions from friends asking me if my husband and I now plan to move back there. For me, that’s a bit like asking if the house I currently live in is my “forever house.” It isn’t. I don’t have a forever. Anywhere. And that’s just fine by me. So I’m sharing a reflection on forever houses from a while back on the blog. Enjoy…
I got a one-line email from a friend the other day. It read: “We’ve found our forever house!” Attached was a photo of a large, stately English country home, with columned entrance and a wrap-around drive.
I was really happy for her. I knew that this was exactly what she wanted. She recently left London with her husband and three children in search of more space, better schools and a better quality of life.
But a tiny voice inside my head asked: “Where’s *my* forever house?”
The truth is, I don’t have one and I’m not sure that I ever will. Unlike most people, for whom home ownership remains intricately tied to the American Dream, I’ve never really fantasized about having a dream house.
A lot of that has to do with my own (admittedly odd) psyche. I’ve written before about how I find safety in movement. This means that I actually feel more secure when I know that change is on the horizon, or at least potentially so. It explains why I like to change careers and why I like to change continents (though fortunately – so far, at least – *not* why I like to change husbands.) So committing to anything beyond my family – and especially a place – makes me feel…anxious.
In the extreme, of course, this kind of rootlessness can induce a certain anomie and soullessness. Mike T has a thoughtful review of the new George Clooney movie – Up In The Air – over on his blog A Boat Against The Current. Mike points out that when such mobility becomes a national past time, you get a country full of people who are loyal to plastic (in the form of frequent flyer miles) rather than blood or community.
Quite possibly. In my own case, however, I prefer to think that I just have a different definition of home than most people do. It’s one that – as Kristen put it so nicely on Motherese awhile back – is rooted more in a state of being than in a place on the map.
Or maybe I just haven’t grown up yet…Gosh, let’s hope not. What on Earth would I blog about?