Monday, February 27, 2017

Indiana Homecoming: A List of Loves

The plane touched down, and I awoke from my light snooze, and tried to focus on the February landscape and ignore the wretched little children thumping around in the row to the back of me. Behind me was Florida, my past, the remnants of my family. Before me...well, what, really? The rest of my life, I suppose. Spring approaching, then summer, and fall, and so on, until I run out of seasons and time. But that's some heavy shit to have on the brain when stumbling off an airplane, so I'll try to keep the existential angst to a minimum.

For years, when hanging out in airports, waiting to catch my flights "home" to California, I would sit at the bar and order double-vodka drinks and text people and try to list in my head all the reasons why I should be happy and grateful about going back to California. "I have a fantastic job with supportive colleagues; I have kitties who adore me, a husband who gets me and gives me my space..." One could say I was counting my blessings, but really, let's be honest: I was simply slapping lipstick on a pig.

Yet, oddly...the habit has stuck. And while I am pleased as punch to be coming home to Indiana, and don't have to talk myself into being happy to be back home, it's kind of a thing now, to list all the things that make me happy about coming home. So, here goes:

  • Hands down, the happiest of the happy-making things that I love about it here right now: the weather. Oh my god. It changes all the frickin time. Before, in That Place, the only reason it was necessary to check the weather was to see how hot it was going to get. Nothing else really changed. God, the monotony was awful. But's never a dull moment. The morning I flew home this last time, the clouds were hanging low in the sky, and while it wasn't nearly cold enough, at least it looked like February. 

(Another February, but it works)

  • This town is filled, completely FILLED, with young people. Sure, god bless 'em, they are a bunch of clueless twits for the most part, but they keep Bloomington fresh, interesting, throbbing with youth and stupidity. And they make me so very, very, very glad not to be in my 20s anymore. 
  • My work. Before I took this job, my musical tastes ranged from "Def Leppard is da bomb" to "Enya is the epitome of enlightened elegance". But I can talk to my sisters and their partners about music and musicians and emerging artists and while I wouldn't say my tastes are particularly refined, but at least I know a thing or two about a thing or two, and have discovered some fantastic music. 
  • More about my work: for the last few years at my old job, I felt I had stagnated. I also felt that my professional ambitions had been...not actively thwarted, but certainly stunted through a lack of encouragement. However, now, in a new environment, with a different kind of supervisor, I find myself growing a tiny bit bolder, more willing to take risks without having to ask permission (and then finding out that the risks weren't really all that risky), more likely to be given extra responsibilities that actively boost my leadership experience.
  • My home: For the past almost year, my cats and I have been hanging out, renting a room from a long-time friend. It's worked out pretty well, particularly as this friend is usually on the road. But the time has come for me to finally establish a homestead of my own, and so, in a couple of days, I'll be getting the keys to my very own apartment, which will be shared with B, who is rolling into town early next week. It's a probably unremarkable apartment, but it's right around the corner from where I live, and has a lovely view from the balcony, and enough space to fill with  an odd assembly of furniture inherited from my grandmother, and the collective books and stuffed animals and makeup odds and ends of the two oddities who will shortly take up residence there.
  • The seasons. Really, this goes hand-in-hand with the weather. Both change, although the weather is slightly less reliable. Nonetheless, I am not sure there is anything more comforting to my weary, heartsore self than to look at at the bare trees, and remind myself that in less than a couple of months, there will be verdant life springing forth, and the landscape will change and revive from its months of hibernation and austerity. Time passes. Healing happens. Life and death ebb and flow, each in their turn. And if it happens to the land, it will happen to me. 

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