I’m afraid to fall in love with my home

Guest post by Fern

By: Nicolas RaymondCC BY 2.0
I grew up in Michigan. You know, that state surrounded by all those lakes that looks like a mitten? I loved it. Well… I loved parts of it. I loved the dunes and the waves of Lake Michigan, I loved the woods. I was never in love with the culture or the cities, but it was where my family was so I was always happy to be there.

In college I realized I didn’t quite love it. While I stayed in the state for school, friends and family were traveling to places and falling in love. I didn’t get it. I had never gotten that feeling from a place. That made me sad, but when I realized I might want to leave my beloved Mitten with its family and familiarity, I was scared.

After college I began working at outdoor education camps. These jobs took me to amazing, wild places in North Carolina, New York, California. I greatly enjoyed every place I lived, but never had that feeling. I began to relax, thinking maybe I did belong in the Midwest with its humid, mosquito-infested summers and frigid, snowy winters.

My partner and I decided to “settle down” in Wisconsin. I thought it was what I wanted: to be near family, stay in one spot for more than a year, finally put down some roots. However, after two years of feeling bored, restless, and out of place we finally began looking for opportunities elsewhere. We decided to move to Oregon to take classes, and pursue something that both of us had been dreaming about for a long time.

When we got off the plane to apartment-hunt in our soon-to-be new town, the feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. Beautiful, soul-filling bricks. I was falling in love. From that moment I could hardly wait until the move, but as I drove further and further west I began to feel the 2500 miles between me and my family.

Now I am here. Books are in the bookcases, clothes are in the closet, the dog is being snuggly on the bed. This is already shaping up to be one of the best times of my life, but it’s also sad. I’m afraid of falling in love — more afraid than I have ever been of falling in love with a person.

What if I really love it and I don’t want to leave? How will I deal with only seeing my parents a couple of times a year and my extended family even less? If my partner and I have kids here, will they ever really get to know their grandparents?

I’m also afraid of falling in love with Oregon and then still choosing to leave. I may move closer to my family, but will I forever miss this place and wish I were here?

I don’t really know what happens, next. While there will always be a special place in my heart and mind for the Midwest, this new home is every place I’ve ever felt comfortable — every punk house, awesome job, childhood memory, magical forest, all rolled into one and it feels really good. I just know I am going to enjoy it as thoroughly as I can while I am here.

Comments on I’m afraid to fall in love with my home

  1. I fell in love with a place… during study abroad. In Japan. I’ve daydreamed about it for the five years since, and slowly but surely, the two of us are making our way back – gaining experience and qualifications as ESL teachers, prepping our dog for the move (Japan has some serious business regulations about importing animals), and if all goes as planned, we’ll finally return next spring. I’m so, so, so, so nervous that something will go wrong, or that we’ll end up with awful jobs, or that we’ll get delayed, or or or or or a million things.

  2. I think I’m still looking for THE place I love. But there are a lot of places that feel like home in a comforting way. I grew up in New Jersey and hung around New York City a lot, so when I come back to visit my parents and see that skyline and hop on the Subway I have a nice “I am home” moment. I went to college in Boston, and though I’ve been back less, it’s the first city I figured out how to navigate without my parents, and walking across campus to visit my old dorms brings me back to the countless other times I made that walk. And though I never lived there full-time, I visit DC every Thanksgiving to stay with my aunt and uncle, and their home is worn deep into my memory almost like the home I actually grew up in.

    I live in the California Bay Area now, and have all my favorite places to eat and things to do, and love the local library and farmers market and nearby parks. But even though it’s really easy for me to find a job here, Silicon Valley doesn’t quite feel like my permanent home, and SF is too expensive to think about buying a place in anyway. I’ve never visited, but I think Portland or Boulder sound like places I could love–I’ll have to check them out and see. If I do end up moving, I’m sure I’ll love coming back to visit here (not to mention all my friends that end up staying here). But it’s okay to have multiple places you love and can visit–some are nice to love from afar.

  3. I am somewhat similar, but also different, but I get the feeling. When I was a kid my family moved the Illinois to Wisconsin, and I’ve always hated it here. HATED it here. I didn’t necessarily love Illinois, but this was much worse. I can find pretty much nothing to like about it- the culture is horrid, and everyone is obssessed with beer and football, most people look at me like I’m an alien most of the time, and worst of all it is so flipping cold and snowy 85% of the time. I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve found multiple places that I probably love too much and would want to move to. However, being away from family (most of who live in Illinois) seems very difficult. I think it would be even worse for my husband as he is very close to his family and they are up in the middle of WI. We have decided that we will move to Seattle when he is done with his masters, but I’m afraid of thinking too much about it and get “attached” since we will know no one there…

  4. So can relate!! I’m a Michigander transplanted in upstate NY. It is the same weather, same trees, near one of the great lakes….but it just isn’t the same. I promised myself that someday I won’t have to justify to myself why I am living wherever it is I end up.

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