I was born with wanderlust in my heart. I emerged not head first, but with an outstretched arm. Although this was widely interpreted as a sign of friendliness (quickly disproven, as I was a shy and introverted child) I believe it was a deliberate reaching-out for someone to grab my hand and get me out of the womb as quickly as possible so I could explore somewhere new.
As my husband and I (and many of our friends) approach retirement, one of the big questions we’re debating is: Where will we live once we’re not tied to a job? For many, there’s a desire to return to their childhood hometown. I envy those of you who have a clear vision, because I can’t picture any single destination that feels like the perfect fit.
I come by this schizophrenia naturally, having grown up in two places. My family lived in Manhattan (and, later, Long Island) for nine months of the year but spent every summer on Cape Cod as my father, a professor, had summers off. Although we were only there from June until Labor Day, the Cape felt like my true home. I was just marking time the rest of the year until I could return.
These days, I feel the same impatience to begin the summer in coastal Oregon. It’s the pull of the ocean: the smells and sounds of the waves as we fall asleep, the cool temperatures, and a pervasive sense of relaxation.
At the same time, though, I wouldn’t want to live there year round. It’s too remote and too far from a city; I’m still a New Yorker at heart. But which city? I have no desire to move back to Manhattan, so the conversation goes round and round as we keep exploring where to spend those other 6-7 months.
Maybe I’ll never find that one perfect place. And maybe that’s ok. As the cliché goes, home(s) is where the heart is.