H is for Home
Today's letter of the A-Z Blogging Challenge is "H". H is for home.
In my lifetime of 57 years I have lived in over 40 different apartments and houses, in seven different states and one foreign country. My parents did some moving around, moving up bit by bit, when I was a small child, but I spent all of my school years in the same little town in the Midwest, living in just two different houses there. I remember how excited I was with the second move, as it meant I would have a bedroom of my own for the first time!
After completing high school I began a Gypsy lifestyle, moving often from place to place and town to town, at first on my own, and then accompanying various spouses as they made the choices and I followed dutifully. (I wish I knew back then what I know now about all of that!)
I did not live in a house that I owned until I turned 40 and moved out into the country with my ex, into a gorgeous brand new manufactured home situated on the land he grew up on. I learned that I love living away from town... it's peaceful, private, quiet, and the sunsets and sunrises are awesome. What I didn't know then was that the beautiful home would become a place of personal hell in the years ahead with him. By the time I left him thirteen years later, I didn't mind abandoning it and all it represented just to get away with what was left of my sanity.
I moved into an apartment in town, and life eventually settled into being peaceful and quiet once again. I named the blog I started at that time "Picking Up Pieces", and indeed that's what I spent a year doing... collecting the fragments of my life and rediscovering who I was. It was a slow and painful process, and in some ways I will always be recovering from that experience and two previous marriages that were equally abusive in other ways. While I loved the freedom of being on my own and making all my own choices, I was also lonely. Most often I didn't talk to a single living being (except my blog friends) from Friday night when I left work until Monday morning when I returned. Often I didn't even bother to get dressed on the weekends, living in my kaftan in front of the computer or curled up with a good book. I realized how easy it would be to become reclusive.
Eventually loneliness won out over my dislike of people and strong distaste for men, and I began casting my net into the waters of online dating. It's an adventure to say the least, and after a few months I was ready to abandon the process, thinking it would not be possible to find a genuine person there who would want someone like me and would make a good long term match.
Something told me to try it one more month... and the rest is history! Two months later I was engaged, three months after that I quit my job of nineteen years and packed my things to relocate to Texas to begin a life with John. Four months later we were married in a lovely private ceremony at a Bed and Breakfast in east Texas. It was to be a fourth marriage for both of us (two of his previous wives are deceased), and it has proven over the past three years that the fourth time can be the charm!
Over the years, I've lived in one-room efficiency rentals, apartments, old farm houses, and beautiful big homes. Now I live in a modest sized, three-bedroom manufactured home that we purchased and remodelled to suit our tastes. A year ago in April we were able to buy a small piece of land twenty miles north of the city where we work and were living at the time, and relocated our house here. We built a large deck on the north side and added a wonderful hot tub where we sit and soak and watch the stars overhead at night. On a clear day (when the dirt isn't blowing 40 miles an hour like it is today) we can see for miles in all directions. The sunsets are amazing!
As we sat cuddled up on the sofa this evening, eating brownies warm from the oven and watching a good movie, assorted cats snoozing around us and the kittens playing in their room, I thought to myself how blessed I am and how much I love my life now, with John. It doesn't matter if you live in a mole hill or a mansion; it doesn't matter what you have, but who you have to share it with. Home is indeed where the heart is!