Outside my window, there are hundreds of cacti that greet me every morning. Instead of green plush grass wiggling through my barefoot toes, I put on shoes to walk across the hundreds of small rocks of gravel that cover my front yard. Outside the sand particles grit between my teeth and I smell a combination of chemicals and concrete from the new construction around my home. I hear the crunch of the rocks underneath me and and look up at trees that look a little skeletal, the limbs trying to muster some strength to stand upright. I heave a big sigh and understand I am not vacationing in Phoenix, I live here now.
It is a funny thing, moving. When you are in the midst of it, you are organizing, packing all the years of your life away into boxes, ready to settle your life somewhere else. As soon as you reach your destination, you are ready to unpack your life and start fresh. After this activity, it starts to sink in, you are miles away from the only place you called home. You start exploring the city, looking for the familiar, wanting the landmarks to exist in the new place you are calling home. I found an unlikely spot, the local IHOP. I got so excited, I made the husband take me there, reminiscing about all the times we enjoyed with family and friends at any given Texas IHOP.
This one familiarity caused an entire avalanche of emotions. I realized I could find a few tangible places to remind me of home, but then what? The problem with moving, especially in your mid-thirties, is all the history you leave behind with what you called home. You leave behind friends that you have known for years, restaurants that you call a Friday night favorite, and the hair stylist that knows your hair better than you do. You have to start over, inserting yourself in other people’s history, preying on restaurants to call your own, trying to find that one person who will at least attempt to learn your hair. Unlike your twenties, these things are not as fun. You are unwilling to be as patient and crave immediate results. If the restaurant isn’t as good as one back home, you feel a pang and tell whomever is willing to listen that there are so many good restaurants back in your hometown. If you meet a new person and things don’t click, you call and complain to your old friends at home about how different people are in this new place. You compare everything to back home.
I don’t want to overdramatize my predicament. Since we have moved to Phoenix, we’ve encountered some beautiful mountains, kind people, and found a great home to build some new roots. This feeling of displacement is probably temporary. It will get better. I know it will take time to form some history. It is the anticipation for that history to happen, the streets to look familiar, and looking at the cacti as a welcome sight that I keep waiting for.