Social media is a gift for keeping in touch with friends and family. As we get older and start building our own families it gets more and more difficult to find the time to spend one on one with those who matter most so being able to stay connected through photos and like buttons and statuses makes everything easier. It makes us feel like we are still involved and still important to those people in our lives.
It also makes a person homesick.
I’m approaching my thirtieth birthday with lightning speed and have incredible plans for my thirties – much of which includes writing, travel, school, and good health. But since turning eighteen I have been something of a roaming gypsy. Never staying anywhere too long, only long enough to build relationships and then leave them. It’s not that I intentionally avoid letting moss grow on me, but somehow life has taken me to new places and new faces.
In the last eleven years I have lived in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming. And soon I will be moving again. I have made best friends in each location, grown acquaintances into sisterhoods, found worthwhile work, and settled down for the long haul… only to pick up my shallow roots and move on. While there is a piece of me that wants to go home, it’s hard to pick a home to go to. Tempe, Arizona? Roseburg, Oregon? Tacoma, Washington? Portland?
I watch my friends build their families. I watch my family grow closer together and me… well I’m not there to participate. I don’t have inside jokes with my cousins – hell, I doubt they would recognize me if I passed them on the street! I’m not able to make it home for Christmas and the gift exchange. I feel pangs of jealousy as my mother grows closer to my cousin… or my brother to my father. There is a piece of my life that I’m completely missing out on. Always, I hear the tired advice: “if you miss it and want to be involved so much, why don’t you come back?”
Come back. Like it is so easy. Even if I had the choice to do so, I doubt I would be able to stay for long. So I continue to wander and chase my dreams. I continue to watch through the glass of my monitor the lives of those I hold dear to me, but whom likely don’t hold me so close.
There is a trade off, though – something that calls for me to be independent when, at times, I feel like a woman without a family; a woman without a home. In every new location I move to I have the damnedest luck of meeting inspiring, beautiful, incredible people. Families who have scooped me up and become my surrogate. So in turn, I have many sisters, many mothers, many fathers, and even a few brothers. I see the world openly and without exaggerated force. The thought of travel to far off places sparks a twinge of eager anticipation in the depths of my stomach that urges me to thrust out and explore.
It can be a lonely life, out on the far reaches of your world’s sphere, but for me it is worth it.
I will say this, though. I miss the ocean.