Home Sweet Not Home

8 Jul

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A completely unrelated photo of Pittsburgh at night.

Yesterday I stood in the airport, tired and fuzzy-eyed, wearing a ridiculous maxi dress that now takes the place of pajamas in my travels.

I was waiting for a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix when the gate next to me began boarding. “All passengers to Salt Lake City board at Gate F7. All passengers to Salt Lake City board at Gate F7.”

My heart broke a little bit and I almost forced my way onto the plane. “That’s me. Yes, I’m Mary Johnson. Yes, I’m whoever you want me to be. Yes, get me on that plane right now so I can go see the people I love!”

I didn’t do that, obviously. I simply watched and waited politely, envious of each person getting on the flight I should have been on. I then took my own flight to Phoenix.

Oh Phoenix, land of hot weather and perfect internships and no attachments. Phoenix with its mattress that leaves my back with welts and its Café Rio when I am missing home.

Phoenix, Phoenix, Phoenix.

I have nothing against Phoenix. But I also have no love for Phoenix.

Last week I was at a BBQ with a bunch of people I didn’t know. As the introductions were made and the inevitable small talk began I realized just how jumbled my life has been for the past few years.

I’m usually pretty good at fielding small talk questions, at knowing which topics will be most confusing for others, at easing the awkwardness of having to explain my life story when all they were really looking for was a yes/no.

This day, however, was different.

Someone asked me where I was from and I said, “Salt Lake.”

They then asked me if flights were expensive this time of year from Salt Lake and I said, “Well actually I flew from Phoenix.”

And then they said, “Oh, that’s right, you’re in school. Do you go to ASU?” I explained I was at Pepperdine. Studying writing. Which turned into a bigger conversation.

And then the cherry on top was that one of the girls there was a social worker, and she, too, recieved her MSW from the University of Utah. I mentioned I had done the same thing, because really, what are the odds?

This brought up social work. And London. And quitting social work.

After about 15 minutes of this small talk that continued confusing others and myself, the group moved on to bocce and baseball, and the girl I was speaking with said something like, “Wow, you’ve really been all over the place.”

Wow, indeed.

The last few years of my life have been a rollercoaster of choices and moving. I’ve moved to fulfill lifelong dreams. I’ve moved for my career. I’ve moved to satisfy that wanderlust that creeps inside of me at all times whispering, “Maybe here you will discover whatever it is that you’re missing. Maybe here you’ll discover the real you.”

I’ve moved and moved and moved, and even though I’ve chosen these changes, some days I am so tired of moving, so tired of starting over that I have no words. Just exhaustion.

Yesterday I boarded a plane to a place where I have no attachments, was picked up by an ever-kind roommate, collapsed on my hateful mattress and slept.

Maybe one day I will find roots and an easy way to small talk about my life. Until then…

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