Adjusting is an understatement for what this process entails. For the past two and a half years I have focused on myself, now I am willingly and happily turning the tables.
I have outgrown Connecticut and lost the desire to live in a city. The point of me coming home is to spend time with family so the West Coast was not an option. Naturally, Portsmouth, New Hampshire fell on the table and was a warmly received suggestion. My oldest sister Audrey and baby Geovanni live there along with my youngest sister, Laurel. Portsmouth is a small town of lumberjack hipsters that are not yet full of themselves. Perfectly situated, Portsmouth is on the beach but only a short drive to the mountains or to Boston. It has it all and there is immense potential in this small New England Town.
So after a few weeks of being on American soil, I moved in with my sister to help her with baby Geo and get on my feet. Within a week I was offered a job at a university as an Academic Advisor and thus my new life in the states began.
Unfortunately, shortly upon my return home my beloved Noni passed away. As the matriarch of the Italian side of my family, she was the glue that kept everyone together and fed everyone as well. I was in my favorite place in the world, Long Pond in Lempster, New Hampshire, when I received the news. The reality of losing the woman whose hand I held the day prior in her hospice bed washed over me and left me in a bed of tears. Almost one year apart from another, I lost both Grandmothers, and the only two grandparents I had left. I found comfort in knowing that my Noni was no longer suffering and in a place where love is abundant, however, I was beside myself, even though I had grieved like this one year before.
The funeral process began and my family came together, once again veiled in black, to mourn the loss of the only light left that led us. It is ironic that with death comes a revival of family ties. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and everyone in between made a beach house in Narragansett home for a weekend to grieve and to bond.
Throughout the autumn, our family has been busy bustling to and from celebrations of life, funerals, family dinners, and holidays. I wanted to come home and be a physical part of my family once again instead of joining gatherings via skype. However, adjusting to being back home has been a challenge I didn’t quite expect.
I left a life of selfish freedom where I was constantly fulfilled by each new adventure and the like-minded people I met. I have returned to a place where I no longer easily fit in to. My family and friends have all branched off and are living their own lives. Engagements, marriages, babies, and jobs divide us as they naturally do. The grievances of traffic, credit card bills, and angry bosses fill everyone’s day. The little things are big things. I have returned home and everything but nothing has changed.
One evening I went out to dinner with my sister and best friend. As they discussed babies and engagements, I mentally left the conversation and drifted inward. I was drowning in the thought that I do not fit here, I made a mistake coming home. There is only so much I can say to someone about my travels. They do not understand the sights, smells, emotions I experienced on top of that volcano in Bali. They may not grasp the bliss I felt when looking at the blue Adriatic each day. So I revert back to my friends abroad seeking understanding of this reality crashing upon me. When first coming home, I felt more distant from my oldest friends and family members than I did while half a world away. I feared getting sucked back into the routine of a fruitless life, and still do.
I know that everyone has their own joy. Some may find fulfillment in a raise at work, others in cooking a good meal for their family – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately for me and other nomads, we’ve touched upon something that pumps blood into our veins and quickly fills every void – wanderlust. Once we have experienced how truly amazing life can be, it makes it very difficult to go backwards. With each trip, the bar is raised even higher. So we must teach ourselves to create our own happiness, even if there is no flight booked or new stamp in our passport.
This is a challenge I have always faced, being at peace in the present. I am an archer through and through and I am always looking on to the next adventure, next opportunity, and next place. If I do not receive instant gratification in something, I move on to the next. Whether that is job, diet, boyfriend, or country, if I am not fulfilled immediately I start looking elsewhere. I want a life that is nothing less than extraordinary so that high standard keeps me going. However, I cannot search for happiness - I must create it. I cannot stumble upon fulfillment - I must allow the humblest of things to grant it.
I want it all – freedom, family, travel, friends, security, adventure, stability. Travel and family come from opposite sides of the spectrum and I cannot have one without sacrificing the other. Perhaps one day I will find or create that dream job that lets me have my wings and plant my roots. I hope to change the world and contribute to a community. I know I am meant for great things. Yet for now, I must learn to balance personal, work, and family life without losing who I am or my vision on where I wish to go.
I have made a promise to myself. I will make the most of the present. I will devote myself to family but still focus on my dreams. I will still travel – long weekends around the States. I will adjust. My family and friends have been more than patient with me and offered nothing but support and understanding; I just need to meet them halfway. There is a reason I am back in the states, there is something grand on the horizon – I simply need to open my heart in order to see it.