Continuing on a Theme…

Perhaps fitting given my post from over the weekend, I read an article today in CNN with the title: “Homesickness isn’t really about ‘home’

Oh really?

The article is aimed at parents of new college students and tries to help worried folks get through it. For example, the article recommends that at the first sign of acute homesickness, parents might refrain from swooping and taking the kids back home.

I think that makes sense. The transition from home to college is a big one, and kids have to find their own way.

But because I’m me, and I’m here to talk about me, let’s see how this might or might not apply to my situation.

I recently had a profound bout of homesickness for New Mexico. (Refresh your memory here)

From the article: …”homesickness is defined as ‘distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.'”

Um. I moved to the Bay Area thirteen years ago. This isn’t about a new or anticipated separation.

I left my folk’s home for college about twenty two years ago, so that’s not it either.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I can rightly call New Mexico home anymore. It’s where I was raised. It’s where I’m from. It’s who I am. But I have to say that where I live now is probably best defined as home.

“…it stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security — feelings and qualities usually associated with home.”

Yeah. But here’s the weird thing, I have a happy home. I have an amazing husband and with him I feel loved and safe every day. I have up days and down days, but taken on the average, I’m pretty content with my life. So what’s up with that?

I also know that if I didn’t live in the Bay Area, I’d suffer a profound bout of homesickness for my Bay Area home. I’d miss the amazing art and culture and the family I have made here.

“‘Yet despite the way it’s coined, homesickness isn’t necessarily about home. And neither is it exactly an illness, experts said.'”

It’s not? Then how come I *long* to sit in the kitchen of my best friend’s home, deveining green chiles, cussing and discussing and laughing with her kids? I get a pain in the center of my chest so bad it’s sometimes hard to breathe.

If that’s not a sickness, I don’t know what is.

I’m a woman torn between my two homes. I am a New Mexican. I am part of the Bay Area. I’m both. Maybe I’m neither.

I’m still caught somewhere halfway in between. (Where would that be? Barstow? Cuz ain’t no way I’m calling Barstow home, let me tell you THAT right now.)

I guess I’m what one might call blessed. Blessed to know two distinct geographic regions of the country where I have family and love and kinship and all the things that make life worth living.

So I’m still going to call it homesickness, no disrespect to the authors of the study.

Then I’m going to recycle my not very sophisticated image because it’s the best visual representation I can manage to convey how I feel.

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  • Anji

    Id call it mourning more like. A new life is starting, they need to mourn the old life. I think that the kids get through it easier than the parents do…

  • Karen Fayeth

    Anji – I think you are right, mourning is closer to the truth, but I think that word makes people jittery, too close to feeling like someone died.

    But in truth, that's the right word, I guess.

  • L

    great post. my post today is kind of along the same lines. I often wonder what makes a place home. for me I guess it's the people. and the sights and smells and tastes…
    everything i guess! i know how you feel though. I have a lovely "home" here in Louisiana. But is it?

  • Karen Fayeth

    L – Loved your beautiful post about your grandparents. I felt your words deep in my heart.

    Thanks for the reminders about the sights the smells and the tastes.

    That's what will keep me grounded.

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