Home Sweet Home Away From Home

In less than 24 hours, I will board a plane that will take me back to San Francisco. I've spent the last three months knowing this day would come, even wishing for it, and now that it's here.... well, I'm a little sad.

I wonder what it is that keeps some of us so far from the ones we love. The answer probably lies somewhere between having jobs and friends and responsibilities that are more like landmarks on highways only we are traveling. Our significant others become the rest stops in between that offer shelter and warmth and other comforts like all the ones we left once upon a time to pursue our dreams and goals and what we thought would eventually lead us toward starting grounds of our own.

But here I am, almost seven years after leaving the nest, and I'm still swinging from branches. I always thought I'd end up jumping down and starting to climb the tree again with the materials needed to form my own nest, but so far this hasn't been a priority. Spending the last three months at home, seeing my family constantly, making new friends and reconnecting with old ones, has really shown me how much time with them I've been missing.

Now, I can't say my current nest of awesome friends and acquaintances isn't grand, but it's lacking something. Without my family, it doesn't feel like home. And without my friends, home doesn't even feel like home. So what's a youngin' like me to do? Up and leave everything I've known for the better part of a decade and start looking for a reason to make one of these places my permanent grounds? Or stay away and finish finding myself, exploring my potential, living it up (as they say), and maintain one loneliness over another?

These are the questions I'm going to be asking myself for the rest of the year. If I've learned anything over my "sentence" of the past three months, it's that I must not take either living situation for granted. My family loves me, and I know they miss me, but for once I've realized just how much I had been missing them. My friends, on the other hand, have almost all the power to truly define how happy I am in life, with my permission, obviously. They've been doing a fabulous job of it so far, and I honestly can't imagine sacrificing them for any others right now or in the near future. In the meantime, I'm sacrificing a little bit of myself.

How close do you live from home? What aspects of "home" are missing from your life? Who gets more of your time, friends or family? What are some ways you have maintained a strong connection to home when you can't physically be there?