When I was younger and more naïve, when I was attending college in the Northeast and considering how I’d make my way in the world, and when I was much more certain about how things ought to be done, I often said this to my friends: “I could live a lot of places. I’d live on either coast, or even in Texas. I just wouldn’t want to live in the middle. I mean, why would you?”
You can all pause now, and have a nice, hearty laugh at my expense.
Because although I started my grown-up life in Connecticut, moved out to San Francisco and then on up to Seattle, we all know that since that time I have landed squarely in the middle. It’s like I was dropped here. Just plunked down one steamy June day, and left to simmer.
It was temporary, of course. Four years, maybe five and then we’d get on with it. We’d head to Boston or Philly or somewhere like that and start our real life. We’d reunite with old friends and make new ones. First, we just had to get through a few years “out here.”
But slowly and surely our roots went down and our kids shot up and somehow ten years has gone by and, still, here we are. We’re no longer newcomers. We’re not temporarily misplaced East Coasters, although I admit to still feeling that way on occasion. Here, where we came for a few short years, we now have some very close friends and lots of fun and funny acquaintances. We have commitments. We have bible study groups, and book clubs, and I, for one, have my Ladies Who Lunch. We’re involved with our kids’ schools and our church. Somewhere along the way, the middle has become as much our home as anywhere else once was.
It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?
We wonder, now and then, what will happen next, when our boys really grow up and get a life of their own. Will they stay? Will we? But the thing we’ve learned, I think, is that in the end, it isn’t the place that matters. Friends and fun and laughter and tears and life are anywhere. They’re everywhere. You just have to stay long enough to experience and embrace them.
photo credit: Daniel Voyager