So…What are you doing with your life?

Who WOULDN'T miss these faces?!

Who WOULDN’T miss these faces?!

People ask me all the time if I miss home, or if I like Denver better than Pennsylvania, or if we’re moving back east anytime soon. They are all SUCH loaded questions though, and I don’t know if people realize that when they ask them. I’m writing this as a PSA for anyone who needs an answer.

Of course I miss home. I have the best (read: craziest) family in the world and some incredible friends that all still live there. 100% of my nostalgic feelings and memories come from a 50-mile radius surrounding Morgantown, PA. Starting a business would have been a lot easier in a town where I have literally hundreds of family members to guilt into hiring me to take their family photos. Crab fries and soft pretzels are still served in Philly daily and my mom still makes cookies multiple times a week. 

But I have this whole life in Denver that seems so far removed from home. I grew up out here. I had my first big-girl jobs, became a wife, and joined a church of my own choosing. I made friends without the crutch of being on a sports team, and I carved out a place for myself without being associated with my family. 

As far as moving … I just started this business, like two seconds ago. And Travis has an awesome job. And we own this house. Also, we really like it here. The people are great and so is green chile. We’re entering stages of friendship that are so fun and that root us a little deeper here. We’re watching people get married and have babies and land their dream jobs. We’re integrating. 

But if I’m honest, and who am I without honesty(?) … growing these roots deeper makes me unbelievably sad. I feel that with each passing year in Denver, I’m one more year away from having the life I always envisioned back home. I always thought I would travel until I was 30, settle down in Philadelphia, and live there forever. 

And that would have been just fine. But that’s not what happened. What did was much better than my plan. Going to Africa, meeting Travis, and ending up married to him in Denver was the best plot twist that I never saw coming. But does that mean I forget the life I spent 24 years envisioning? No. 

There are certain things that make it really tough. The first item on that list and the single-most difficult thing about living in Denver is being away from those four little cuties at the top of the page. I love my nieces and nephews more than any human in the world and not being able to see them whenever I want just absolutely breaks my heart. And I’m sure there will be more coming one day. I have preemptive sadness for the moments of their lives that I will miss.

I’m banking on being the cool aunt in Colorado that they come stay with for weeks at a time. We can hike and talk crap about their parents (further establishing my role as best aunt ever), and I will let them eat a pot cookie. You know, the normal stuff. (Kidding Katie and Ben!)

People are always making terrible signs that say “Home is Wherever I’m With You.” No, it’s not. I feel like these signs are a personal attack on my current situation. I’m looking at you, Pinterest. Is home more with my husband than my siblings, my best friends? I’ve known them for 27 years, him for only five. He’s practically a stranger in comparison. A really great, loving, wonderful stranger who I love very much, enough to live away from everyone. But it would be unreasonable for him, as a person, to embody home. To fulfill every need that my massive family has met in my life. He could try, but it seems like that would be super exhausting. 

We’ve fallen into this rhythm of life where I go home about five times a year. That sounds like a lot, but most of the time, it doesn’t feel like enough. It’s a little unconventional and I know some people judge us for it, but whatever, we have a lot of Southwest points. Trav has graciously given me the space to keep my life back home, or at least enough of it to give me the strength to build a new one with him. He doesn’t get hurt when I miss home or wish that I was there. He just asks what we can do to make it better for that day. He endures hours of mindless FaceTime with two year olds while they show us their new toys or just put the phone face-down on the carpet for 20 minutes. He’s the best and I wouldn’t live away from my family for anyone else.

I have two great lives. They just happen to be 1,726 miles apart. Some days I think that’s awesome. Others, I get really sad. And that’s the truth. I apologize, but I just realized I didn’t answer any questions. I have no idea where life is taking us. I have no idea if my longing for home, Pennsylvania, will ever overwhelm me to the point of going back. Or maybe Denver will keep becoming more and more of a home and it will just be too difficult to start over and build lives back east.

For now, we are resting in the fact that our life in Denver feels planned by a God with a plan much bigger than ours. And we’ll be here until otherwise notified.

0 Responses

  1. Well put, sweetie! I have a similar story and I’m still not knowing when and where God is going to take us! ~Doris Myers

  2. Oh Rachel, I have felt so many of these same feelings since we moved away (almost 8 months ago) and I’m with you. I have to confess that I hung a print that says "You Are Home To Me" recently, but (BUT!) it’s printed on a map of Denver and was made locally by someone we know personally. And while I appreciate the sentiment toward my husband and think it looks cool – I’m in the same place as you right now, feeling pretty far from home most of the time, even as really good things unfold here in Seattle. I’m encouraged by your honesty. Have some green chile for me soon. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your camaraderie here Jenny – I know so many people live away from home, but I just wonder how we all do it sometimes!

      And I don’t judge you for your photo/print; it sounds quite lovely, :).

  3. I so, so get this, and you’ve put it into words better than I could (and have tried to!). It feels like home is both where I am now (North Carolina) and where I grew up and my family is – and for now, I’m learning that okay. Thanks for putting it so beautifully and honestly.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Rachel! I find that people from the Lancaster area resonate with these emotions most. For some reason, people from there seem to stay put. I think that makes it harder for those of us who live elsewhere because it just really feels like we’re always missing out on something. But I agree, it’s OK. Good even sometimes. Thanks again for reading!

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