I’ll never forget the day I called my grandmom to ask if I could move in. It was summer, the sun was out, there were blue skies. I was walking in between classes on Drexel’s campus and decided to call her at work. I stood on the street looking toward her office building as I dialed. For some reason I was nervous at the possibility of her saying no.
The word “home” is simple, easily defined. It’s a word we learn at an early age without much thought. For me, it’s a word that’s meaning has evolved throughout my life.
In college I started calling so many places home that I would get weird looks mid conversation.
“Home? New Jersey? But I thought you lived in Pennsylvania?”
“Your room is at your dad’s place but you don’t live there?”
“You live with your grandparents, but not because they’re sick?”
I was 8 the first time I moved. I remember boxes and Rubbermaid bins filling each room. My mom labeling each container by designated room and its contents. The moving truck was so long it took up most of our small South Philly side street. I didn’t think we’d fill it all but we ended up leaving behind our backyard grill and squeezing in a lamp that eventually broke in transport.
I wanted desperately to ride in the large moving truck with my dad. What 8-year-old wouldn’t? I believe I ended up in my mom’s car, sitting in the backseat next to our cat’s carrier.
For my birthday I received a teal Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter.
If you couldn’t guess, that’s the perfect gift for me. I’ve always wanted a typewriter, a good old-fashioned mechanical one. That’s exactly what I got thanks to my partner’s thoughtfulness.
Since I received this precious gift, I have not started writing a novel or anything of the sorts, but I have continued jotting out my thoughts and expanding on a few ideas. Before, I would do this on standard pen and paper, eventually going fully digital once I moved, but now it seems I’ve regressed a few decades.
I never paid attention to the number of contacts in my phone until I wrote a piece on mental health a few years ago. In the introduction I note I had 436 phone contacts, yet no one to reach out to. This is not going to be a rehash of what it’s like to literally have hundreds of phone numbers and no one to call, but in a way, it is going to be exactly that.
One night recently, I sat down and saw my contacts had reached 586. What I couldn’t understand: why? There are so many people I most likely never have to talk to again.
I decided to do a purge, sat down, and scrolled through all 586 contacts choosing who to delete. After about 40 minutes, I ended up with 214 contacts.
I am now 25.
The first momentous birthday since 21 and the last until 30.
I remember when I turned 10 and it was a big deal because that’s two whole hands of counting on your fingers. That night when my dad tucked me in, he told me to slow down growing up, because before I knew it I would be 13, then 16, then 18, then 21, and soon I’d run out of important birthdays. I remember that late night talk clear as day. He was right in some ways, it all went too fast.
At some point in life you may feel you have lost control of yourself. Your busy schedule may leave you with no flexibility except a routine of work, eat, sleep, repeat; a sense of obligation to those around you may cause you to give in to what others want; living your life with someone else, whether it be a romantic partner or roommate, may give you the impression that there always needs to be compromise. In a way, you have lost your sense of control. You could very well still be in control of everything you do, but it may not feel like it.
It’s Sunday, September 24. I’m visiting my mom for dinner and, of course, to watch the Eagles. It’s the fourth quarter, my mom’s in the kitchen cooking chicken parm, my boyfriend lies lazily on the couch tired from our morning at the shooting range, and I’m in front of the big screen thinking, “If we blow this game, we’re not going anywhere.”
Less than a minute on the clock and the doorbell rings. My eyes stay on the TV as I open the door, expressing my disappointment to our guests. My cousin yells, “Is it over? They tied it right before we got out of the truck.”
I glance back to the TV. 61-yard field goal. “Holy shit, they won!”
A few years into college I learned the importance of separation of space. Separation of space is when you only do specific “tasks” in a given space or setting, such as sleeping in a bedroom or studying at a desk. In my college apartment I was terrible at this, although I didn’t know separation of space was a thing until my therapist asked me about my routine.
Over the last few weeks I found myself reflecting on the past year and realizing how much has changed. 2017 was a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m starting to think that’s just how life is. Unexpected—despite your best efforts to make any form of a plan.