The last year has been funky. Not bad; in fact, on the surface, quite good in many ways. But funky none-the-less. I’ve been in this weird, unsettled funk and have been trying to figure out why. A few weeks ago, I decided that I felt like Houston wasn’t “home” and that made everything else wrong about my life here. So, I set out to write about “what is home?” to try to alleviate this unsettled feeling. I wrote about it and wrote about it and wrote about it and wrote about it until I realized I’d better stop the stream of consciousness James Joyce stuff and ruminate a bit more on the jumble of my feelings. I have realized it isn’t about a specific place, but this funk is just a weird, unsettled stage of my life.
I remember holding my little babies 20 something years ago, looking at their tiny bodies and heads full of dark hair. I imagined them someday, all grown up, flying away from the safe nest of home and launching into their young adult lives. And now, 20 something years later, that’s what’s happening. It’s beautiful, inspiring and amazing to watch and participate in. I just didn’t expect to be a single, middle-aged Texan when this happened. Unsettled funk identified.
I’m an almost 52 year old single woman in Houston, Texas and about to live alone for the first time in…ever. What?? How did that happen? This wasn’t the plan, or even the 237th back up plan. Don’t get me wrong–I raised my kids to be independent and am happy that they are successful young adults. I just didn’t figure I’d be divorced, 5 years into starting life over, and living 1500 miles from any family when it happened.
So many things about this new normal are good. I have a house that is comfy and I feel “at home” in. I actually enjoy being alone a lot more than I enjoy being around a lot of people. I love the diverse, colorful neighborhood I live in. I have a career that I mostly enjoy and have been fairly successful at. My church has become like family. Despite the oppressive heat and humidity in Houston, I realized this summer that I am a heat person and am not sure I could go back to the frozen tundra up north.
Still, there’s just as many things that make me unsettled in this new normal. Sometimes I want to talk through things when I wake up with anxiety at 2am and the German Shepherd, while a sympathetic listener, isn’t very good with feedback. The cat is waaaaaaay worse (she doesn’t even listen sometimes!) Sometimes my neighborhood is too colorful (read “drama filled”). Work has had more changes and challenges after a particularly challenging previous year (don’t ever say, “Things can’t be worse!” Fate is laughing when you say that.) Like any family member, I’m going through some growing pains with my parish family and figuring out what to do with that. And the weather…well, I just like hot weather, so that’s the least of my unsettled feeling. Thank goodness–there had to be something I wasn’t complaining about!
I supposed my funk is this: Life just doesn’t stay static and change isn’t easy, even if it’s expected and not altogether bad. When I was feeling unsettled in my own skin, it was so much easier for me to think Houston wasn’t home and I felt adrift here than to admit the truth that my life doesn’t exactly feel like home lately. Yikes, that’s a hard thing to face up to. As soon as I realized this, a quote from Maya Angelou resonated in my soul. “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Maybe that why I feel like I have a lot of places I am comfortable, but not one place I really feel like I belong. Maybe someday that totally settled feeling will come. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m not supposed to feel totally at home in a place, but feel totally at home with where God has me in my life. I think that’s probably it. Funky jumble organized.