Friday, September 9, 2011


Today's prompt in the NaBloPoMo is: "If you could return to any place you've ever lived before, where would it be?"

I'm not so sure I have an answer to that one. 

I've lived in a lot of places.  I'm 40 and have now lived in 9 different places and even more if you want to be counting by homes instead of cities.   I think if you count by residences of all types I'm at about a dozen or so.  By modern American standards, that's really not all that much.  We are a transient nomadic sort of people, but for my peer group here in the Mid West, it's kind of on the high end.

The thing is of all those places and faces, I don't think there is a single one I'd be able to say, hands down, that's where I want to return to.

It's not that those were terrible places or nasty people or hard living or anything like that.  Not at all.  Each and every one of those places are a part of what shapes me and makes me who I am.  Each place had it's charms.  Each people group had it's good and bad.  Each time I grew and learned and recreated.  Moving around a lot is just simply a part of who I am and how I tick.  I think 10 years is about the longest I've ever been in one place. 

It's a weird feeling.  I have it even here.  I'm settled and content, and yet if it was the need to pack up and move and begin again, I could go.  Relatively easily. 

The thing about moving for me, is that each time, it's a sort of do-over.  Each time you arrive somewhat or completely unknown and you get a fresh chance.  You get to start over fresh.

What do I mean?

When you begin in a new place, no one knows your past or has a preconceived idea about you.  The people you meet will get whatever first impression you give them.  They will learn to know you as you present yourself this time around.  So, if you move to a new place and decide before you get there that you don't want to be known as the shy girl, you get an opportunity to live in a way that no one ever thinks of you or labels you as the shy girl.  Or maybe it's that you want to be more confident or independent or smart.  Or maybe you want to be that volunteer or just the opposite, you want a break from being head volunteer of everything.  Maybe you want to be the calm mom or the team mom or the prayerful wife. 

You're getting the idea.  You can virtually come into a new place and begin all over from the start.  No one knows any thing of your life before the moment they met you than what you tell them. 

Now, I'm not saying you should go moving from town to town being a big old lair and fraud, but really, that dumb thing you did in your 20's or the time you slipped on the ice and landed in a pie or that one time you lost you cool and the whole town watched you come unglued, doesn't have to be public knowledge in your new life.  It's something you can leave behind, like that one ratty house plant that's on it's last leaf anyway. 

You can enter in and make some choices about this next bit of life and maybe live a little differently.  Maybe have a fresh start where you need it or want it. 

So that's kind of my thing with returning to a place.  Each place gave me the chance to be a new me.  Sort of Jen.2 if you will.  For me, that's always been a good thing.  Each place I've liked the new me a little more.  And each update of me, version 5.1 or what ever I've been on has been an episode of growth. 

I think for me, in a way, it would be weird and hard to try to make changes in myself in a place that I had always been or knew that I would be remaining in for a very long time.  It would be that sort of mentality of how will I change and stay changed if everything in my world or environment, people included, stays the same and how will others see or accept or adapt to the changes in me if I'm still where I've always been. 

Not clear, I'm sure, but the short answer after all of that is that I wouldn't return to any of the places I've been before.  I love them each for what they were to me in that season, but it's like that old worn cliche, you can never go home again, cause really, you just can't.