There’s no one like a friend you’ve known for 30 years to cut through your maze of words and hand you back an idea. Last night my friend Jen came over with her family and we chilled and talked and chilled and talked. Late in the evening, we talked about our fears: tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes. Finally we arrived at my fear of the future, the unknown, will my next job be fulfilling?
My work now is so fulfilling, yet I’m reaching for something different work-wise in the near future. I know I’m ready for what’s next, but part of why it’s hard to move on is because right now is known. Part of this is also about how my kids are growing up, how moving into that phase where they aren’t at home, living at home, all the time, it’s unknown. Right now the kids being home is home. My work, which I totally am comfortable doing, that’s a kind of home, too. I don’t know what these homes will feel like in the future.
Jen asked me if I’ve ever left a home before that I wasn’t ready to leave.
Ah, yes, college. It wasn’t perfect, but it was so home. I hated leaving it behind for the unknown.
Ah, said Jen, look how well it’s turned out.
We looked around my cozy home, at the Christmas tree lights and the couches filled with people who I love. And I became a writer. I succeeded in becoming a writer, which I always have to remind myself is no small feat. It’s huge.
Jen quietly reminded me that we don’t lose our kids, that even when they aren’t there, they carry the home of us inside of them. They come back. Even now, I go back home to my parents’ home, which is still my home.
I don’t know what’s ahead. I can’t picture what a new work home will look like, or what new tasks I’ll learn how to do that will build on 20 years of writing, editing, marketing and teaching experience. But I’ll land somewhere, and eventually that new workplace will feel like a kind of home.
It’s hard to believe in the future. But Jen reminded me of my past, those times I didn’t believe leaping would turn into me landing in the now. But it did.
Leap, land, leap, land, leap. After these five vacation days of soaking up the love from family and friends, enjoying home, that’s where my mind is: leap, land, leap, land. The homes we leap from and the homes we make after we leap again. Frightening, yes, but also leading to new possibilities that will someday feel like home.