I look down, almost dazed at how weightless my key ring seems to abruptly be, there is an empty space between my car remote and my fitness pass where four keys have resided for the past calendar year of my life. I used to reach into the depths of my purse, one that is comparable to that of Mary Poppins, and pull out this accumulation of keys leaving myself to wonder if I’d murdered a janitor in a previous life. The prior 16 hours have been filled with sweeping, dusting; mopping, packing, moving, dance breaks for sanity, full bottles of wine for mental capacity, and close friends for comfort. Stacking my memories into properly filed boxes that hold clearly marked labels giving them a road map to their next destination evoked no emotion from me; I was very lackadaisical considering I realized how much work I needed to indulge for me to actually pull this off in the allotted amount of time.
Staring backwards at the pile growing in organization behind me and the clutter and chaos in front of me diminishing had a sigh of relief leaving my lips, wanting more than anything to go outside and play. Of course we’ve been delivered the opportunity of an 87 degree day complete with 90% humidity on the only day of the past year I have chosen to move my life out of one box and into another – this mother nature character is a real bitch, if PMS was a job…She’d be a boss. No air conditioning unit here, no fan that can figure out the actual capacity of the word ‘functioning’, and no matter how wide we’ve opened the windows, we couldn’t even bribe the wind to blow with all our dance dollars out on the line for the promise of ventilation.
I was anticipating being able to be in a moving car with a breeze more than anything else at that moment. I wrote my final note to my landlord on a 2 ply bounty quicker picker upper paper towel; truly the last form of paper left in my unit, scanning these four walls that have housed more memories in the last year than I’ll ever be able to remember on a consistent basis. The memories that were made here will be consistent with that of things that come across your mind when you least expect them to, something that will remind me of ‘that one time’, a reminiscent sort of events.
Checking the closets and cupboards to be sure I didn’t leave anything behind, it suddenly hits me hard the emotion I have to be leaving my current dwellings in anticipation of new habitat. I lay the four keys down on the same table that held a welcome home note the day I moved in a year ago – the four keys that opened many doors in that building – but among the more important ones; the mailbox – to reveal the magic and wonder I may have received in the form of words, letters, postage stamps, postcards, or even the weekly ad for the supermarket. The key that let me in from many cold MN winter nights – and the keys that opened the door to my home, the first home I’d ever paid for, the first home I lived in, truly alone, and could make it into my version of what I thought home would be. I walked through the threshold that held the weight of the door for protection and privacy these past months and held down the fort while I was away. I don’t feel sad in the sense that it’s gone…trust me, I’m ok with moving to a different street – I’m more or less emotional for the fact that for the first time in my life I was leaving something of mine behind, and as small and insignificant it may be, its pivotal to me.
Walking down this familiar hallway has an unfamiliar feeling welling up within me – I’m leaving my ‘home’ that has been in my routine for the past year. It’s at the finality of this thought that I realize and can fully grasp the word ‘home’, many people would describe it as the place you live, the place your parents live, the state in which you reside, things that make you feel that way, but more than anything what I realized today setting down the four keys that allowed me to feel at ‘home’, was that it is more than a dwelling, a space, a square footage, monthly rent, or intrinsically decorated apartment that properly expresses your identity as a person.
Home to me has become a state of mind.
I have been travelling across the US quite a bit lately in search of adventure, and have found things that make me feel like home, people who make me feel that way, or when I’m feeling lonely, thoughts that have my mind travelling back to the feeling of home – you can be across the world, country, state; in your own home, kitchen, bed – it’s the paradigm of home being a state of mind that fully captures my heart, for I will travel this country and then the next, but I hope to always mentally be in that state.
So for a brief paying of respects where they are due, thank you door #2 apartment 508 – you have held many things within you. Thank you for being the door that I could always count on to open to a place that I had created for myself, thank you for holding many laughs, tears, long talks, and lonely nights. Thank you for always slamming so hard that I jump sometimes when I have almost forgotten, the door that held the gateway between me being alone and someone bringing me company on the other side of it, thank you for holding my words, emotions, biggest secrets, fears, failures, and highly mounted success’ within you. If life was the price is right, for the past year you have given me the showcase showdown of a time – thank you.
Home may be where the heart is, but the heart is in a place in which the mind has the ability to lead it.