It’s been six months. Half a year. 180ish days, give or take a few. And something’s still not right.
Even after all this time has passed, I still can’t shake the feeling that I belong somewhere else. My mind, my heart, my loyalties still lie in another zip code approximately 150 miles due north.
I grew up in this town we live in now, a place in which I swore I’d never live again. It’s not that it’s a bad place to live by anyone’s standards, but it’s not home. At least not anymore. Not to me.
We left New Hampshire six months ago for my husband’s job and it was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make. We adored everything about New Hampshire—from the profoundly intimate friendships we formed there to the way people waved when you passed them on the street, even the grocery store we shopped in—and we thought it would be our home for life. But life, as everyone knows, is full of uncertainties and ours was certainly not immune.
When it came time to make the choice, we penned our pros and cons list, did the math, mapped out our finances. It made sense on paper: it was logical, reasonable; it had to be the right decision. So why does it still feel like there’s a huge hole through my heart?
Every place I’ve ever lived, I was ready to move on from when it came time. The town I grew up in, the city in which I attended college, the place where we bought our first home that seemed so rinky-dink and boring, a place to leave behind.
Then came our last home, where we finally felt like we belonged. Where I began to actually know people when we went out around town, where I had a group of mom friends who were always game for rolling five strollers deep on a walk through the park, where I could buy a bottle of wine with my groceries instead of smuggling my infant into a liquor store in a front pack. Everything fit. We fit.
I think I finally know what it feels like to be homesick.
On paper, everything here is perfect. We have family close by for the first time in a decade (which also means built-in babysitters,) my husband’s job makes sense in the grand scheme of his career, we live in the house I grew up in, which just so happened to be available since my parents moved away several years ago.
And, most days, it is close to perfect. If I keep my head down and remember to concentrate on the present instead of the past. If I fill our lives with enough distractions to forget the one we had before.
Little by little, we’re constructing a beautiful new life here. The puzzle pieces are starting to come together to look just like the picture on the box: the smiling, happy family with the white picket fence under that blue sky it took so long to build. If we keep focusing on that picture, I know we’ll be alright.
Until I spot that stray piece under the table that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere at all in this puzzle. Suddenly, the perfect picture we’re working toward feels incomplete and I’m left wondering how long until I can forget that I found that stray piece in the first place.