“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
Loving people in more than one place. Having more than one place that feels like home. Knowing that whichever of these places you ended up, you’d be happy, because you’d have people around you who hold a piece of your heart. It sounds like a wonderful thing. Guaranteed happiness. Being surrounded by people who make your life better no matter what.
Loving people in different places is great because you’ll always have a reason to travel to these places, and people who will make you feel at home when you get there. It makes you learn to be a better friend, and it helps you develop stronger communication skills that are necessary for maintaining long distance relationships. It teaches you to be more grateful for the time you get to spend with people you love, because that time becomes less frequent.
But I’ve learned that loving people in different places can also break your heart. Knowing that you’ll never fully feel like you’re at home because no matter what city you’re in, there are people who hold a huge chunk of your heart that are not there. You live with the constant feeling of missing someone that doesn’t go away. And the constant feeling of missing a place. Like you’re never really sure if you’re where you should be, and you don’t know if you ever will be sure.
I don’t ever want to complain about having too many people I love, or for having the privilege that even allowed me to move across the country for a year, purely for my own enjoyment. I know that this is not a bad problem to have by any means. But what I will simply say is that last year when I made the decision to leave behind the people I love, I didn’t think I would ever have to do it again.
I remember the pain of saying goodbye to people who meant the world to be, and wondering why I was doing that to myself. I had such a good circle of people around me and I just walked away from it, straight into the unknown. But it turns out that the unknown ended up becoming a city that I love and a whole new circle of people who mean the world to me. The thought of having to go through that heartbreak all over again wasn’t even on my radar when I went through it the first time, because I never imagined I would meet people like the ones I did.
I think too much. And sometimes I feel too much. And for the most part, I like this about myself. I like how reflective and self-aware and in touch with my emotions I am. But on days like today, I hate it. It’s been hitting me over the past few weeks that I’m really leaving Toronto, and I’m realizing that I under-estimated how hard it would be. I was finally feeling content and even excited about my decision to move back home, and I was just focusing on that. I was ignoring the fact that I was using my excitement to be home again to mask the pain I knew would come with leaving this place behind. But here I am now, the day before I once again pack my life into a few suitcases and hop on a plane, and I cant seem to mask it anymore. Over the past few weeks, things started becoming all too real, and the feelings were all too familiar. The realizations that the moments spent with my best friends were now on a countdown. Knowing that there would be a time in the near future that I wouldn’t see them every day anymore.
Sometimes I think about how I would have saved myself from a lot of emotional turmoil had I never moved to Toronto to begin with. I wouldn’t have ever known anything other than home. I wouldn’t have all these places, memories, and people to miss. I wouldn’t have to go through the pain of leaving behind people I’ve grown to love for the second time. I wouldn’t spend this much of my time feeling confused about what kind of life is for me.
But I also wouldn’t have all these places, memories, and people to miss. My life would be a lot less full, and I wouldn’t have even known it. I wouldn’t have the stories to tell and the lessons I’ve learned. I might not have been going through the pain of saying goodbye for now to some of the best souls I’ve met, but I would likely be going through the pain of regret instead.
The most important thing I’ve learned from this experience is that it’s the people you surround yourself with that can make a home. You can love a place with all your heart, but in the end, it’s still just a place if nobody in it is connected to your heart. You can know every street name and how to get around without using Google Maps, and you can even have a list of all your favourite places to go in the city. But those aren’t the things that are going to make you feel fully at home. It’s the people who get to know you and who let you get to know them. It’s the people who’s souls just seem to recognize yours. It’s the memories you share with those people.
And when you have these things in more than one place, you really might not ever feel completely at home again. I’m learning to accept that. And even though it’s an uncomfortable thought, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would do it over and over again if I could. The pain that comes with loving people in more than one place will never outweigh the happiness that comes with it.