Feeling at Home
When I first thought of this post, I thought it was going to be about having cultural event fatigue. My two part-time jobs require that I attend a lot of cultural events – most with groups. I have gone to 5 plays, 2 museums, and 3 concerts in 6 weeks. I have felt a little fatigued of group cultural events – nothing that a weekend off won’t relieve. Then the holiday calendar kicks in and a concentrated period of intense cultural attendance ramps up again. (This is not a bad complaint to have, I realize fully.)
What’s really going on, I realize, is that I’m feeling lonely for family time and the spontaneity that happens when your sister or brother calls and says, “We’re all going out shopping and then going to check out that new restaurant…pick you up at…. Or your daughter says, “Let’s pack up the kids and go to that consignment shop and our favorite Tuesday Morning – we’ll each limit ourselves to $25 and see who gets the most.” Or you say “I fixed a bunch of somethin-somethin, come by for dinner tonight” and your brother, mother and sister and 'em all come by. You love each other up and tease each other and it's just right.
With my family, I have a rhythm and understanding that means things can happen on the fly. I don’t have to prepare for them. I don’t have to be my best hostess for them (although I try). I can be more relaxed and casual.
Among my friends, spontaneity is rare. Everything has to be scheduled, mostly weeks in advance. A significant number of our planned touch-points get canceled because of work demands or an opportunity popping up (on either of our parts).
My friends who grew up in Boston have family have regular family interactions that are rarely shared in our friendships. (Although family and friendship overlapped a bit more when I was single. ) Have you noticed this – boundaries around what is expected of and shared with family versus what is expected of and shared with friends. N’er the twain shall meet has been my experience.) I also have some friends whose family I've never met despite knowing them for years.
Being without family in Boston (except for my husband) means that I often feel isolated and apart even in these familiar surroundings. With the children grown and gone (and estranged from each other but that’s another post) Boston no longer feels like home. It is a place I live and like (sometimes even love) but it is not home despite living most of my adult life here.
This dissatisfaction is a small, persistent leak that I’ve patched repeatedly but never fully repaired. I don’t know how. It’s bugging me to no end. I know lots of people and do lots of things but they aren’t fam-i-ly!
I can’t imagine being old in a place with no children or grandchildren or siblings or extended family to share that part of my life’s journey.
How would it be to truly feel that the place you live is home? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the lovely home you’ve created meshed with the home that birthed you and was adjacent to the homes your children have built?
If you liked this post, you might also like: Dont Change: An Impossible Request of Family