“It’s the end of the first twenty-seven years of memories, and now I have to make the rest somewhere else.”
I have lived in one house my entire life. It is the same house my grandparents raised my mom and uncles in. My parents got married in the backyard, under the two short and ornamental apple trees. My parents raised me and my younger brother there, and I hoped to continue living my days there with any future family I might have. Our home, a white ranch style with large flower beds, a weathered wooden picket fence and almost an acre of land that it all sits on, is rich in my own history. There isn’t a single inch that doesn’t have a memory attached to it.
The last seven years of my life have been chaotic to say the least. In the past two alone, I have experienced many major losses. I have lost my Grandma and Dad, my Grandpa survived and recovered from a stroke and we lost our family home to a house fire. The never-ending cycles of trying to create a new normal after every major event have been so overwhelming. The different types of grief have just layered onto one another, never giving any of us quite enough time to deal with any of them alone. And now my family and I are packing up our life, heading 219 miles away from our hometown, to move in with my Grandpa. From there we hope to find new jobs and eventually, a home of our own.
This move, however, has had me struggling to adjust. Other than leaving my home behind, I’m also struggling with moving away from my urban roots to a very rural area. I live near 3 major hospitals, any fast food or restaurant you could want–and if my hometown doesn’t have something, the cities nearby it do. My anxiety has always been soothed by the constant buzz of traffic, human activity, and the knowledge that if need be, help is very near.
The area I will be moving to is the polar opposite of my hometown. It is quiet, most places are closed by 10pm, and the nearest hospital is 30 miles away. It is in an area where the main industry is tourism, so there are three extremely busy summer months followed by nine slow and quiet ones. When I stayed with my Grandpa off and on over the years, I would hear coyotes at night. Recently, a black bear visited his neighbor’s bird feeder. It isn’t that it isn’t beautiful–it’s just too isolated to keep my anxiety at bay. It feels like I am so far away from everything and that doesn’t do my mental health any favors.
At the end of the day, there is one reason why this whole move is so heartbreaking. I know that even if I move back to my hometown, I can never move back home. I will never sleep in my room again, cook in the kitchen, or watch tv at the end of a long day in the wood paneled living room. I will never walk in the backyard or pretend to help my mom weed her flower beds. It’s the end of the first twenty-seven years of memories, and now I have to make the rest somewhere else.
There are a lot of things, however, other than the roof over my head, that made our cookie cutter house in the suburbs a home. There are things I can take with me no matter where I go that will make our new place a new home. I have my Mom and Brother, and I will be able to spend more time with my Grandpa. We have already made plans to continue our New Year’s Eve tradition, which includes going to a specific market and getting our snacks for the nightly festivities. We have other holiday traditions that we’ll continue to celebrate as well. I collected several boxes of mementos from my twenty-seven years living there that I plan to make into scrapbooks, quilts and shadow boxes for my walls.
The truth is, I am forever going to be tethered to my hometown and the surrounding metro area. There are places and people I will always want to visit. There is no way I am ever going to miss a concert, “Welcome To Night Vale” live show or musical as long as I can help it. I will always be an urban girl, drawn to the lights and noise of the city. Even though I know that I want to end up back in the metro area someday, I think if I try hard enough, I can make even rural Michigan a home.
Autumn Rose Mager
A few words about me
I’m a Gemini & INFP. I can’t make decisions and I overthink everything. I love podcasts, video games, paper crafts & a thousand other things.