I think I have decided that as long as there is The Daily Prompt to give me ideas, that Saturday will be the day I write my response to one of them. As I sit on Saturday mornings watching the college football program, it’s nice to just let someone else give me an idea for what to write about. This week we will be exploring the concept of home.
When you’re away from home, what person, place or thing do you miss the most?
What is home to me?
I have had many homes. My home in the northeast was what any childhood home should be: one which was good enough to remember, but uncomfortable enough to want to get away from. I shudder to think about the person I would have become if I would have stayed there for the rest of my life like my parents stayed for their entire lives.
My home in the southwest was my first real home on my own. No partner, no friends, just a cat, a job, and a car and I had to make a go of it.
The midwest was never really a home, since I always intended for it to be a short-term place to live while I got my doctorate, if you can call 4-6 years short term. However, it was home in that I met my husband there and we lived together for a year in a lovely duplex.
The southeast is my married home. Two dogs, two cats, a husband, a job, friends, going to school, renting a home, all of it meshes together to make what I have always envisioned as a home life.
What do I miss?
All of these homelands have something that I miss, and it’s hard to believe that I have lived in all of them over the past 8 years. I miss the seasons in the northeast, as described in my previous post Changing Seasons. Personally I miss it because I miss the solitude that comes with not living in a city. When it snows, it’s like you’re snuggled up in a cave made just for you and you can be quiet and safe reading a book with some hot chocolate. I enjoy having a CVS two seconds away, but sometimes I miss not having any noises at night. I enjoy having lots of things to do close by, but sometimes I miss the necessity of coming up with something to do because you don’t want to drive an hour to get someplace.
I miss the southwest terribly but I could never go back because of the political climate. I miss the mountains and the family that I had (very close friends that I wish I still had but all of us just fell out of touch). I loved my apartment that I had and the job that I left to go to the midwest could have actually been a good job for the long term if I had stayed. I loved the weather as well, especially the lack of humidity. I can has regretz? Still, it’s probably for the best that I left, and when the pros outweigh the cons I can come to terms with those regrets.
My husband and I have been talking quite a bit about moving back to the northeast within 5 years, so lately I have also been thinking about what I would miss about our current home. I would miss all the sunshine but I would not miss the heat. The southwest summer heat was not humid and so it was bearable, but this southeast summer is just brutal. I would miss all the things that are available to do: sports events, beaches, and theme parks. I would miss the friends we have made. The new job I have found here is actually quite awesome so far, and so I think I would miss that if we had to try to find new jobs up North. If this job continues to be good and they want to rehire me next year, this may be the first job I would be scared to leave.
The life of a teacher, 2013.
There has been a lot of hullaballoo about there not being enough jobs in America, especially for students graduating from college. I’ll tell you that the teaching jobs are out there and there is still a reported teacher shortage in many areas of the country, in both desirable and undesirable places to live. If you are willing to move you will find a job in education. If you are willing to go someplace that might not be the best, most fun place to live for 3-5 years, you will find a job that will probably pay you more money, which you can leave for a better job once you’re done there, most likely with some of your student loan debt forgiven in the process. The most difficult part about accepting this reality is that you have to leave home, and that can be difficult for the current generation who is moving in with their parents en masse after graduation because they “can’t find a job.” I suppose that it would be difficult for any generation to move far enough away from home that you couldn’t necessarily go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, just to have a job. That’s scary, there is no doubt about it.
The reality is that we don’t live in an “Everybody Loves Raymond” world anymore. If you want a job that uses your degree, you can’t always settle down in the same town in which you grew up. You have to go. You will have to be uncomfortable. You will have to budget for groceries and pay rent. You will have to experience financial stress so that you can learn to stand on your own and make good choices with your money instead of spending it all on XBox games and new cars. You can’t put yourself in a position that forces you to be a Starbucks barista and then complain about the fact that you can’t find a job that uses your degree.
It’s okay. You will miss home. But you will make a new home and it will be great. You’ll have a job, and a place that you call yours, and maybe even a significant other or a pet. You’ll take ownership of your successes, failures and responsibilities. You’ll grade papers and assignments while eating dinner and watching tv. And every so often something will remind you of your childhood home and you’ll want to cry. You’ll want to run back and have your mom do your laundry and make you dinner and you’ll be okay working at Target forever just don’t make you be alone anymore because it’s TOO DIFFICULT!! and then you’re up the next day, taking attendance and beginning anew.
When you’re away from “home”, there is always something or someone you will miss. The trick is to make investments where you are so that the missing is a dull ache and not a roar. You will then have the same chance your parents had at making something warm, welcoming, and special enough to be called home. Make an adventure worth sharing with your students. Be brave. 🙂