I had an extremely fortunate upbringing. I grew up in California and I lived in the same house with the same people for the first 18 years of my life. Life doesn’t get much more stable! However, after I graduated high school, I joined the Air Force, and life changed rapidly.
I moved to Colorado and went immediately to basic training. I spent the next four years there, getting yelled at while working to complete my bachelor’s degree. Life was stressful, to say the least… I was so focused on my academics that I didn’t make time for friends. Those four years flew by and I was left with a prestigious degree and a handful of friends – though, no one that I could trust deeply. Needless to say, I was deprived of the safety and security you feel when you are “home.” They say “home is where the heart is”, but I put my heart into everything I did in Colorado – and it never felt like home.
After that, the Air Force moved me to Ohio where I worked to complete my master’s degree. Ohio was… different. No one was yelling, and the academics somehow came easier. I made time for friends – though, I was starting from scratch since I didn’t make time to develop relationships back in Colorado. Something kind of magical happened… I started making my own little family. There was no “mom” or “dad”, but I had a group of people that I could hang out with during the best of times and during the worst. I could rely on them and they could rely on me. I even developed a deep relationship with a boy there. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We were so happy and content together, we didn’t even think to get married. Then suddenly, the Air Force said that it was time to leave Ohio. My heart had been calling to California, where my biological family lived, and so I asked the Air Force to send me there – the Air Force obliged. Unfortunately, the boy of my dreams was sent to New Mexico… So we moved.
I drove with him to New Mexico, then took a plane to my final destination: California. Something magical happened on that drive… as we crossed the border from Texas to New Mexico, I became overwhelmed with feelings of happiness and gratitude. Tears welled in my eyes, and I couldn’t figure out why. I stayed in New Mexico for a week to help him move into his apartment, and I didn’t want to leave. It felt like… home.
But I made my way to California, because that is where the Air Force agreed to send me. I lived in a beautiful apartment on the beach, just a few hours from my family. I was working my dream job: an astronautical engineer, launching satellites. Yet… something was missing. I would come “home” to my apartment and I would feel… empty. I started to find activities after work to keep me busy and I found yoga. I began teaching, and eventually was teaching 6-9 classes a week, on top of my full time job in the Air Force. I didn’t have time to feel empty. I only had time for work and yoga. But during the quiet times, my heart yearned for New Mexico. I asked the Air Force to move me there, and after a year, the Air Force obliged.
So I set-off for New Mexico. My mom drove with me to Arizona to help ease the transition, but during the last leg, I was alone. I cried – a lot. I was so afraid of the future. What if New Mexico was just like everywhere else: empty? What if I don’t make any friends? My family will be so far away… what if my job is unfulfilling? My mind was filled with doubts – I barely even noticed the drive until suddenly, I was at the driveway of my new “home”. I rang the doorbell and the boy of my dreams answered, shocked that I was there (granted, I didn’t tell him which day I would be moving in). We hugged as I entered the house, and I felt whole again. I felt safe and secure. I didn’t feel the need to go or do anything. I was absolutely content.
We’ve been living in New Mexico together for a bit of time now, and the feelings have not changed. I still get overwhelmed with feelings of happiness, to the point of tears. I feel so grateful to be living here. I don’t understand what I did to deserve such a perfect life. I feel accepted and loved in New Mexico – I feel that I can be my true self. I believe that I have finally found my “home”.
Finding your “home” isn’t easy. It doesn’t involve metrics – it takes intuition (something that most of us tend to ignore…) I hope that everyone is able to find their true “home” at some point in their lives, but I know that it takes a bit of work and a lot of luck. It is a true journey. But when you find “home”, you will know because home is where your heart feels safe. You will feel safe enough to be your true self, safe enough to love deeply, and safe enough to be loved, truly.