In astrology terms, I’m a Cancer. Thus, being a home-body is practically in my DNA. I love to nest, to cook, decorate and redecorate, organize, entertain… and I love my friends and family around me. So being back at home, I’m in my element and constantly focusing on making our house into our home (Eventually, it will be clean and organized, too. Maybe when the kids are little bit older? Right?).
We’ve been home two weeks and it’s been a whirlwind ever since! Pulling into our neighborhood was exhilarating and I was immediately struck with how it looked exactly the same – evidence that 4.5 months isn’t as long as it sometimes feels. As we parked in front of our house, my mom (aka Oma to the kids) opened the front door and we all ran up the path for big hugs! The kids were giddy to be home; they giggled and bounced around and explored their house and toys with enthusiasm. All the toys we had left behind may as well have been brand new to them (evidence that 4.5 months is longer than it sometimes seems). Raj and I were relaxed and grateful to have made it safe and sound, and we were initially a bit at a loss as to what to do with ourselves! We’d become accustomed to having lots of chores when we pulled into a new location, such as plugging in hookups, walking the dogs, setting up a play area for the kids, etc. Once home, we were able to plop down on the sofa, let the dogs play in the fenced in backyard, and watch as my mama played with the kids!
After those first few hours of lazy bliss, reality crept in. We had 4.5 months of mail to sort through, an RV to unload, and a house/home To-Do list that we’d left out of sight-out of mind while on the road (and our 1955 mid-century ranch constantly requires us to add to that list, including the urgent business of scheduling an HVAC person to help us figure out why it stopped working while we were away). But as we started tackling everything, I stayed light-hearted, and recognized in myself an increased ability to deal with little stressors that I was sorely missing as we had departed in June. I knew that it would all eventually get done and was confident in our ability to start checking things off the list together. After all, Raj and I were quite the team during our adventure.
We’ve taken Gypsy in for service, confronted a very long to-do list (though our progress is alarmingly slow), attempted to create a routine with the kids, and spent hours cleaning and organizing our house. I haven’t had much time or energy for writing, but I have been pensive and find myself in a time of reflection about all I’ve learned about myself and my family during our trip.
You see, my life is charmed…blessed… in so many ways. The free country I was born in, the loving family I was born into, the health of my body and mind, the friends I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the financial security I’ve come to know, the tremendous love and partnership I’ve found in Raj, the dogs that have sat by my side, and the beautiful gifts that each of my babies represent. The list goes on. I am, indeed, a very lucky woman.
But I get restless… all the time. When I’m in normal day-to-day life I start to want something different, though not necessarily more. It’s as if I can’t “buy-in” to my life as is. I’ve felt guilty about this for years, and embarrassed to admit it! How dare I? How ungrateful, or unappreciative I must be. I feared others would think me ignorant or callous as to how little others have if they heard me discuss that I wanted something else. But I’m not… any of those things. I DO KNOW what I have. I AM grateful. And, by the way, I’m not unhappy. Just… restless. And I’ve thought I was a bit nuts for it, to be honest with you.
Then I read something the other day on a travel blog I love, http://www.ytravelblog.com/after-travel/ and it really struck a cord. She wrote of her time away from traveling:
“I can’t handle normal life. I feel disconnected, frustrated, overwhelmed, busy, bored, ungrateful….
Society still wants to put me in a box and make me fear the damage I’ll cause if I turn from its expectations and smash down the walls to build my own.
I’m not running. It’s just who I am – a spirit that longs to the be free and live completely in connection with life.”
And just like that, I knew I wasn’t alone in this unsettled world inside my head. When my gypsy spirit starts yacking away at me, it doesn’t mean I have schizophrenia! Seriously! It’s a troubling feeling to know intellectually that you have so much to be grateful for, and to actually FEEL grateful, yet to often feel disconnected from it. Why is it that I need travel… adventure… space…a change of scenery… a new challenge…in order to feel fully present and “in the moment”?
The author also correctly states:
“Most people want to travel for the short-term adventure, for the joy it brings before it becomes normal and so very draining. They’d rather have a home, a garden to tend to and family and friends to be around instead of constantly moving and waving goodbye to those you love.
Most people want to share only with their friends and family and keep it in the memory. They don’t felt the burning desire to make it their life’s work.”
Yes!!! That’s true for me too (that’s right, you don’t have to fear us selling our house to travel in Gypsy full-time). I may want to travel more often than most people out there, but I do love having a home to return to- the Cancer in me insists on it). I like missing home. I like that homesickness helps us fine-tune my priorities and points out all the important things in life… with a big fat highlighter. The homesickness highlighter has proven to me that family really is everything.
The little things that go wrong aren’t that important. We can be happy in a large brick and mortar house, or a 200 square foot house on wheels.
So, as I reflected about our time away (much more on that later), as well as how it felt to be home, and allowed emotions ranging from giddy to overwhelmed wash over me, I admit I was surprised to feel some of my restlessness creep back in. So soon? I thought it would be months rather than days before it did. For now, I suspect it’s due, in part, to the length of my To-Do list… and I’m way out of practice at feeling so far behind. Plus, in the RV, everything had a place, and though we cleaned up every day, sometimes 6 times a day (thanks kids and dogs), it didn’t take that long to get the place back to order. Two weeks later at our “big” house and I’m still frustrated with how out whack everything is.
But it’s just a house. My family is still together. We have my parents and their dogs around us again. With the exception of a cold working it’s way through us, we all have our health. Raj is refreshed and ready to re-join the workforce, but able to help with all there is to do at home until he chooses the right opportunity to move forward with. So while my sense of calm has faded a bit, my sense of my priorities has not. I love my family. I love my life. I am blessed. And I am filled with gratitude.