When I moved to San Francisco, I was moving away from Austin and my story there as much as I was moving towards San Francisco. I had an opportunity to follow a job to SF, and I had certain expectations about how my life would change once I got there, but as much as anything I was creating a bit of a new life with a clean break.
Now, every time that I come back to Austin and Round Rock to see my family, I find myself facing emotions or ideas or experiences that I was having at the time. I’ve moved on and my identity has grown an incredible amount and Central Texas doesn’t feel like a place I want to come back to and live, but all those things that I hopped into my convertible to drive away from are still there and each time I come back I find it necessary to reconcile myself to them.
My sense is that I needed to run away 4 years ago, but now I need to re-integrate. Until I face up to the painful things or the things I needed to get space from I will have a mathematical remainder that needs to be dealt with. Until I deal with that remainder, the next part of my life’s equation will remain unsolved despite all the chalk on my hands.
So I come home to reconnect with my family. To spend time with them. To reestablish the connection that withers a bit when you live so far away. To make sure that they know that I love them.
And when I do, I end up facing or accepting certain painful memories that I have, and I do that I can let my guard down a bit more, and as I write these words I find the word trust coming to mind. I can trust a bit more, where that’s always been a challenge for me. I prefer to control rather than to trust. Part of that comes from fear of being hurt. Part of it comes from knowing I was sorting myself out and it’s easier for me to engineer situations where I can explore myself without fear of consequences.
But coming home to where we’ve been always gives us perspective on who we were then as compared to who we have become. Particularly after a long journey away, we find ourselves home again, now changed indelibly.
And the thought that keeps coming to my head is that home is wherever you realize you can actually start making a place for yourself. Home isn’t around the next corner or in the next city or in the next company or in the next person’s arms.
Actually, we might find it in any of those places, but only after we’ve begun making a place called home inside of ourselves.
There’s that great quote, wherever you go, there you are, which basically means we can chase home from one end of the earth to the other, but in each new city, with each new lover, once things settle down we’ll find the same old us showing up, and we’ll have the same old relationship with that idea of home that we had at the last place.
So as I sit at home for a few days, I find myself reconciling and accepting a bit more of who I am and where I’ve come from. And I feel a lot of peace inside as that happens. And I plan to take that peaceful feeling home with me when I hop on that flight back to San Francisco on Wednesday.
I hope this helps.
Austin W. Gunter