Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How is this possible?

How can I be homesick for a place I've never lived? I was sitting in my office the other day (okay, it's really a dining room) and looked up at my Bar Harbor mermaid picture that I got from artist Russell D'Alessio and just felt... homesick.
Where I live now, I've lived my whole life. Minus ten years in the desert, an adventure, to say the least, but not a regret. It was a six hour drive to the Ocean, a weekend trip, which fulfilled me, sustained me, until next time. A week long trip down the Oregon Coast and I fell in love. Someday, I swore, I would live close to the ocean. I always thought it would be the Pacific Northwest. Somewhere near Portland. Oregon, that is. Certainly not Maine. That dream crumbled when we realized that the west coast was just not US. Too many people. Too expensive. Too close to Planet California.
It's strange. I'm not a swimmer. Or a surfer. Or a sailor. But I've always dreamed of the sea. I've written poetry about the sea. I feel happy when I see pictures of the sea. My favorite colors are sea and sky colors.
I want to be around the sea, not necessarily in it. I want to see it and smell it and taste the salty air.
Then we went to Maine. To be fair, it's the first time I've ever been to the East Coast. Mt Desert Island is the only place on the coast of Maine I've been. But I'm completely enamored. I feel like someone put a spell on me. I believe in love at first site again. I could live there. For the first time in years my husband was happy. I was happy. Celia was happy. 
(There are lots of rocks there.)
People tell me I'm crazy. (Not a secret.) They tell me it's really cold in Maine. (It's really cold in Chicago.) They say it's so far away. (Yeah. so...?) You'll have to do better to convince me. Especially when I sit in my car in the middle of the day on Roosevelt Road, in a crawling, bumper to bumper, horn honking, swearing, running red lights type of traffic jam. At one in the afternoon on a Thursday. I ask myself... Is it worth it? Is this what life is all about? Trying to breathe when there are a few million people sucking the air right out from in front of you?
I feel split in half. Half of me isn't "here" anymore. Half of me is wandering the shoreline. Yearning for a simpler life. Fresh air. Room to breathe. Nights dark enough to see the billions of stars that remind me how small and insignificant life is. And to not waste it anyway. The other half of me is surviving. Living in the endless overcrowded suburbs. Signing papers for mortgages and paying $7000 in property taxes and not even being able to get a library card. Watching my husband go to a job every day that physically makes him ill because the indoor air quality is so poor. Seeing my child grow up in an area where I don't feel safe anymore.
I miss the ocean, the salty spray, the waves crashing against the rocks, the seagulls crying.  I miss the color.
So now what?
How many of you are where you want to be? Doing what you love? Are you absolutely sure? Can you honestly say you're happy with your life? Do you deserve to be? Or is it an unattainable goal that you just dream of? 

And you end up just surviving life rather than living it?


  1. When I was young i always thought the grass was greener on the other side of the hill. Your feeling don't get sold with the property and if you move will you come into an inheritance or a chunk of money so the house is paid and neither of you have to work and your child needs are provided for or will paying the bills and having to go to work suddenly seem a joy. Moving to a foreign country on my own was not the silver lining I expected, I survived but it was tough.

  2. Heavy Lisa. I would say there are seasons in life and sometimes we are called to a waiting season, right now I am too. It is difficult but learning contentment in tough times(or places) is rather like training. I don't think it is unattainable to be where I want to be, just not now. Right now I am sure this is where I am supposed to be. SO I enjoy the thoughts of "where I want to be" as I live where I am. The thoughts are like a perfume that doesn't change life, just makes it sweeter.

  3. Okay Lisa--call me loosey goosey or cosmic woowoo girl,but probably in another time and space you lived on the coast of Maine and that is why it calls your name so loudly and strongly. It is also the complete antithesis of where you are right now--that yearning for time and space and quiet. Have you started that dream board and started visualizing yourself in Maine? It really can happen!!

  4. Lisa! This is like a wake up call to yourself, this post. Months later and still on your mind - is not an idle thought and feeling. Gosh, your taxes are insane. For almost that price you could get a HOUSE mortgage out of that in Maine. Look up houses to see what I mean. whuh. Like Janet says, make a vision board and a plan. Put the windows in and sell, use the difference to live on for a bit and then jump. My god, we never know unless we try and I for one don't want to be ever wondering "what if?"

    As you know, I am trying to do the move right now myself with my house for sale and no one to keep me here. Just waiting for the universe to cooperate! :)

    keep us updated...


  5. that post was full of depth & emotion! i really like the way you phrased your words, & the excellent photographs.

  6. OKAY we must be sisters or aunties or something. I always love the 'wander on the beach' no matter where I find a beach I am happy - all over the world. I have finally started exploring the mountains in a daily/walking type way after being here in CO for over 20 years and part of me still listens for the waves. The thing you most don't want is a remorseful deathbed - at least try it - for sure you will never end up a bag lady on the street. Try it. Be willing to succeed or fail. If you fail so badly you need a roof or a bed - call me or any of your friends - I'm not rich, but I will share. Love. Lori de Froup Lori W at Art Camp for Women

  7. I am definitely doing what I love but I long for two things all the time, sometimes with a big ass lump in my throat: the ocean (or a suitably large body of water) and a climate I can enjoy all year round. To be clear, I love rain, so I could very much enjoy the west coast. partner's work is here, and he is our breadwinner, so I settle for the little house that could in southwestern Ontario. (First World Problem, I know, but hey...I do live in the First World.)

  8. I completely get what you are saying. My husband and I both feel the same way, but are kinda 'stuck' here for another year at least until our son graduates high school. We have meant to go for almost 15 years, and now the kids are getting older, we have more of them than we did and it is becoming harder to leave. I do have the luxury of the beach within 15 minutes, and i too love to go there, but being on 'planet California' find it too unpleasant during the warm months because they are so crowded. I'm more of a solitary walk on the beach kinda gal, so I stick to the winter months. I hope you do make your vision board, and start making plans. Crowded city living is really no fun.

  9. When your heart finds a home, go there permanently or often. I live where my heart found a home and I am not regretting it. BUT, I too miss the ocean. Your words sang my song. Currently wondering how I can have a few weeks at the ocean. Maine is gorgeous. Was there last October and loved it. Good luck and keep looking for a way!


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