Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (aka bitching and moaning) about feeling at home/finding my own way in the North Country. About a month ago I came across a post by “driftwoods” called Bonding With Place: Embrace or Move? that really struck a chord with me (not to mention the wisdom in the comments section). She essentially talks about how she moved to a suburban area, initially resisting ever feeling “at home,” but has lately started to look at the area with a fresh perspective, and in doing so, feels that she may be starting to actually like the place.
Our initial situations couldn’t have been any more different, but I understand her feelings of displacement. I originally left my home-of-10-years, Brooklyn, because I had started to feel lukewarm about the area. Having grown up in rural Maine, I knew I wanted to live close to nature again, and the chance to be part of a movement to bring arts and sustainability to the community sounded like a wonderful change from the stagnation I felt in the City. So I moved up here with guns blazing – all inspiration and positive energy and starry eyes. As I’ve mentioned before, despite my efforts, things disappointingly did not turn out how I had hoped, but Butch and I made the constructive decision to continue living in the area, since we saw potential for a happy and fulfilling life. But trying to find where one belongs when suddenly devoid of a very purposeful purpose is easier said than done! It was almost as if I didn’t exist anymore in the place that I had worked so hard to be in.
But it doesn’t take years of therapy to know that the more resistance you get, the more the universe is telling you to back the F off. And so that’s what I’ve been doing the past handful of months – getting involved in organizations that are positively enriching to me and appreciative of my involvement, learning about local agriculture, and making friends who embody the terms inspiring, genuine and giving. Yes, it’s been slow going, and yes there have been snags and setbacks along the way, but I have been doing my best to take the high road. The turning point came very recently when, after a frustrating exercise in non-communication, I finally realized that the who/what/where that brought me up here in the first place should be acknowledged and thanked for doing so, but has shown itself to be the type of who/what/where that I do not want in my life anymore.
So now that I’m emotionally free to explore my new home, I’ve realized just how much of what I originally moved up here for surrounds me already – the North Country is full of breathtaking vistas, interesting people (both long-established locals and diverse transplants), and movements in both the arts and sustainability (New friend M recently had a similar epiphany over at her blog, The Ditzy Druid). It truly is all in how you look at things. And when I start to miss things about my old life in Brooklyn, I gently remind myself that I chose to move up here and knew there would be trade-offs… and the pros of the North Country far outweigh the cons. Recently being surrounded by family and friends for our wedding helped to remind me of the wonderful people who already exist in my life no matter the distance, and how I deserve to be surrounded with the same quality of people up here. I’m not saying that there’s no room left for change, but as my now husband Butch said to me recently, home is wherever we are together.