Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding Contentment

My entire week built up to this moment: packed bags and a heart ready for a vacation, even this very small vacation granted to us.

"At the risk of sounding too offensive, this place is a shit-hole."

The sentence left my lips before I even realized its consequences—my friend was not ready for my bold statement. I could have prepared her better, I suppose, but she was the one who questioned my need to go back home. Unfortunately, what I said is the truth--this town's worth only stretches so far. I needed home more than ever after having said my piece, if not for time away from an unruly campus, I needed it as an escape from this awkward situation we both created out of a relatively innocent conversation.

I was home three hours later. Home, in my town, where the air is crisper. My hometown, placed nearly half-an-hour from Atlanta, has everything I could ever need, but more importantly, my home is my stable ground. The people here are well-acquainted with the to-dos and courtesies of a bigger city. We were a small town once, and even then we were more Mayberry than three hours south. Despite the convenience of a university campus lying in the middle of the small town, the ignorance there is in abundance—hardly a line is drawn between "hick" and "southerner."

I have always lived by the rule that happiness can be found anywhere. I have found the people who contribute to my happiness, but the town, overall, is not a pleasant place to live. Happiness, quite simply, is more attainable at home.

"Well, it is your hometown, I'd expect you to like it more," my friend said, attempting to sound understanding.

If only falling in love with a town was as easy as she assumes.

"This isn't egocentrism. If I could choose anywhere to live, I wouldn't even choose this state!"

She would not believe me, but for four days I was far enough away not to care. What I said was my truth, and she is more than willing to live her life loving a town I hate. Only having lived in this town, she will never understand what I mean when I say one has to live somewhere to truly understand the people and the place. Visiting is not enough.

The first person I saw while home was my best friend Melody, and while swapping stories of our motivation to be home, we found common ground.

"There's something about this place--I don't know what, I can't explain it--but it makes me feel calmer and happier," I said.
"I understand what you mean. I feel the exact same way whenever I come home," Melody said--finally someone who understands.

I wanted nothing more than to take snapshots of everything while driving through town--document the town's beauty, the people laughing. And in between the laughter and familiarity, I spent my time staring at the hands on the clock, wishing I could make them tick slower. If only I were a Roald Dahl character.

Coming back was a struggle; I knew exactly what was waiting for me at the end of the trip--familiarity is refreshing, routine is monotonous. Without a few friends and my beloved, I would have no reason to return at all. Georgia has colleges in at least every other town, but in some weird way, in this miserable town in which I setup camp, I found the same comfort one can find in a home. I put my bags down on the floor and looked around the empty dorm room. Some part of me, through all of the complaints and eagerness to be home, missed it.

This place may not be perfect, but it is a home away from home. I suppose that is why my friend was offended by my confession—I did not pause to remind her she keeps me grounded, as well.

Now, if we could just do something about this humidity.

9 comments:

  1. I understand. I don't ever want to move back to Conyers. And as soon as we can leave this state, we're out of here. BUT, everytime I go back to Conyers to visit my mom, I feel grounded somehow.

    Then again, I feel that same way when I go back to Savannah to visit. Anywhere you live and accumulate good memories has a piece of your soul. I think that's what grounds you, even if it's not a place you'd choose to permanently return.

    Of course, to return to Savannah permanently would be perfectly fine by me :)

    Cheers!
    Jen

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  2. Very well written. I enjoy reading your blog. I wish you the best in your home away from home.

    I can't help but to wonder if my last child will feel the same as you when he attends college for the first time next year.

    Have a great weekend!

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  3. Thanks you guys. And I definitely agree about Conyers, Jen, but I do like the Olde Town Conyers. I think it's charming.

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  4. Enjoy reading your page, A beauty in all word. Just feelin a fall in a sunny day.

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  5. "home is where the heart is.."

    wherever you have at least one person you love, you can feel at least a little bit 'grounded' and at least a little bit at home.

    Beautiful post.

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  6. thank you. :) and yes, i definitely agree.

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  7. A home is really nothing if you don't have a loved one to share it with.

    for a home away from home, i guess all you can really do is make the best out of it:)

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