I wonder a lot about becoming a nomad.
What triggered this particular episode was a photo album on Facebook an old childhood friend of mine had posted. It was of this stunningly gorgeous house. I’ve always been drawn to very nature/cabin-esque styles while also loving sleek minimalism. Some parts of it were over done in my opinion, but 90% of it I liked. Which… I don’t feel ever happens. It’s a weird combination I feel and I don’t feel like I’ve ever seen it that often. I would say the closest thing to what I’ve seen and liked is my parents’ house, but the mixture of my dad’s Southwest American modernism and my step-mom’s adoration of doilies and antique farm life clashes so much. It’s difficult to put much sense into it.
While looking through this album, I felt a combination of awe and anxiety. Awe in that something that beautiful exists and that a person could wake up to a place like that every day. Anxiety for if I would ever live in a place like that or more importantly, if I wanted to live in a place like that.
It’s beautiful. It’s what I would picture when daydreaming on my dream home.
But then I would be tied to that one location.
It’s literally the only place I would be. It’s so beautiful, I would feel guilty for wanting to see other places.
My family members are mostly home-bodies. When I was a kid, my family would go on these large road trips all across the country. We would camp along the way and be gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. It was usually something we did early summer. Both of my parents were/are teachers and we would all be done for the summer.
Growing up, I always envisioned that I would someday do that with my own family. I would probably be settled someplace close to home and also be a school teacher. My summers as an adult would be the same – if not better – than my summers as a kid. I would teach my kids the beauty of the outdoors – see places that look like from other planets.
Then, I got to college and a lot changed.
Within 6 months, I decided that teaching was not the career for me. Well, someone else made that decision and I agreed to it. I was vulnerable – struggling with crippling anxiety and depression. Things continued to get worse. I was wracked with indecision of what I wanted to have as a career. I became overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities. I made some poor choices due to my feelings of inadequacy. I had to prove myself of greatness in some ways because I felt like I had already failed in achieving my lifelong dream.
I lost sight of many aspects of my dreams. My dream career was dead. I was hurting so much, the thought of passing this pain onto my own offspring was too much to bear. My family dream was dead. I had very little to cling to besides the people around me at that time.
So, I started putting my dreams in other people. More specifically, a person.
I decided that if I were to ever be with this specific person, that would be it. My entire future would be whatever he wanted it to be. No matter the issue, we would work it out. I had endless possibilities, endless opportunities.
But then, I started daydreaming again. I started seeing errors in placing my future in someone else’s hands. I found new dreams that collaborated with my old ones. I was determined though, that my new dreams, old dreams, and current dreams could all exist in the same universe.
But that was not the case.
Calvin dumped me and there I was again at square zero. My new and current dreams became mangled in the mess of the break up. I was lost again.
Not long after, California appeared and with it, endless possibilities and opportunities.
I latched on with everything I had. But I made similar mistakes.
I once again tried to become someone else’s dream while forsaking my own. Some parts meshed better this time than in the last, but I was at war with myself constantly. The freedom, passion, and liberty I experienced between Calvin and Joel became buried under the companionship of another person. I became addicted to that one, small part of my dream and tried to make every other dream work around it.
I feel the pressure from somewhere inside of me. Most of my friends and family are at that age where they’re finding people to “settle down” with. I have felt that I’ve been looking for that kind of person my whole life. I have always dated with the future in mind. I need to have that kind of person in my life. It needs to come from a romantic source.
At least, I’m realizing that’s how I’ve been behaving for the last 25 years.
I no longer like the person I become when I get into a serious relationship. I don’t like how different my behaviors, personality, and mood are between the two. I don’t like that I put my emotions into one person. It’s not theirs to hold. It’s not my place to give that away. I need to have some ownership and some sort of fucking spine.
I try to look at the lessons and knowledge gained from failed relationships rather than ruminate on my emotions from being alone.
Ben taught me that I was first deserving and capable of love. That I need to be able to give as much as I take. How to play cribbage. What it was like to have romantic and sexual feelings for another person and to have that reciprocated. That not everything will last in bliss for forever. That being with someone who challenges you intellectually is a necessity. People, places, and things change, but they can still be wonderful with that change.
Sean taught me what it was like be loved unconditionally. And worse, what it felt like to love intensely for only a brief period of time. How to feel welcomed into another family without hesitation. What it felt like to plateau. Then, the path to deterioration.
Calvin taught me what it was like to love unconditionally. How to give. How to see the world from other perspectives. How to hurt – and I mean really, really hurt. How to communicate with another person. How I should be proud of my talents. That I was rougher around the edges than I thought and sanding them down wouldn’t help me. How to be truly alone.
Joel taught me that love isn’t always the answer. How to become better prepared for adulthood. To laugh at dumb memes and learn the history behind them. That I shouldn’t stop my dreams to try to fit into someone else’s. Listening to your gut is sometimes just as important as listening to your heart.
I’ve always been a more instinctual person. Now, I’m seeing how much that’s colliding with my decision making capabilities.
I had lost my ideas for exploration.
I am gaining new dreams.
And I’m not so sure those dreams keep me in one place.