Imagine if you could do anything you wanna do, be anyone you wanna be, go anywhere you wanna go.
Where would you go? What would you do?
You always hear parents saying to their children,”you can do anything you want, you just have to believe in it.” My parents never told me that. I’m glad they didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted them to lie to me.
I can’t do anything I want to, that’s simply not plausible. I’m not brave enough to become an astronaut, that’s for sure. I don’t have the time and endurance to practice enough to become a Grand Prix Dressage rider. I definitely don’t have the voice to become a singer, and I’ll never fit the standards to become a model.
But if I could, if I had all these possibilities, what would I do?
I would do everything I know I can’t do. I’d hike up Mount Everest, because why not? I’d ski the Olympic Super-G, race to the podium just for the heck of it. I’d start a band and travel around the world to perform our music to millions of obsessive fans. I’d create the most beautiful paintings of life and beauty and ugly love, so stunning that they’d immediately be displayed in the Louvre. Honestly, I’d probably successfully bake a cake for once, because I don’t see that happening any time soon with my striking lack of talent.
There are so many things in this world, big and small, that I would love to do or achieve or become in my life, and I know most of those things will never possibly happen. Though I’d obviously love to become a world famous artist, that’s not what I need. Of course we need equal rights for everyone, the same opportunities. But it is good that not all of us have the same talents, the same passions, sometimes it is good that we can’t be anything we want. After all, that makes up our individuality.
Home is a loose word, I often find my mind and, in turn, my spirit in other places. Sitting wrapped in a blanket I’ll physically be here or there but, in truth, I’ll be far, far away. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.” House or home or somewhere in between? A trivial question when one is hunting for a place to rest one’s mind.
My tangible home will always be with my family in our small “faerie home,” surrounded by an unruly garden that seems to compete with the urbanity of the asphalt road and the ever shrinking street light (or perhaps I’m the one growing). Home with its boarding of white and blue, with a hand built white picket fence; home with a stylized and cohesive found object collection inside and hand painted walls of a whimsical forest land further from reality than the closest galaxy. Tangible home will be with my dad’s music blasting well above the sound threshold of his earbuds, shuffling in the Paint-Shack. Tangible home will be with my mom, picking up conversations we never started mid-way through a sentence. A home fit for part of my heart and part of my body.
But my true home, home for my mind, my spirit, the rest of my heart and body, that’s much harder to pin down. I’ve lived too many lives, I’ve walked the halls of Hogwarts and thieved the streets of Ketterdam. I have run through the Overlook Hotel and traveled the world in the Leviathan. I am inclined to call all these places my home despite the threat of horror and danger and pulse-stopping fear. But then again, I am just as inclined to call a solitary cottage at the edge of humanity surrounded by piles and piles of mugs and books my home.
When I was much younger I believed home would be among the pyramids and mummies of Egypt, studying a culture older than I could comprehend, dinosaur hunting while bouncing from continent to continent in search of the next great dinosaur find. Now I find myself lost, filled with wanderlust. Do I return to Ketterdam, Hogwarts, Brakebills? Do I follow the dust and jewels and bones of ancient history? Do I find my library tower with an endless supply of tea, coffee, pastry, and more books than I know what to do with? Do I find my corner of a city and people watch for the rest of my time?
Maybe, what I’m getting at is I won’t find one home, there is no way to make that which is plural singular. I’ll always be hunting for the next city to make my heart beat faster and my lungs dance, the next country, the next world, the next universe. My home will be that glimpse of color disappearing around the corner, just slow enough for me to go skidding into the alley and see it go around the next corner. My home will be a sturdy pair of boots, one hell of a scarf, and a bag with an undetectable extension charm. My home will be that trip around the world finding the best food there is and then traveling to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Home will be that rare dinosaur in the middle of nowhere. Home will be Nefertiti’s tomb. Home will be finding that portal to Fillory, Hogwarts Ketterdam, Le Cirque des Rêves. Home will be the pens and paints I bring with me; home will be the countless notebooks of dreams, adventures, and future worlds.
Home will be the next great adventure. The never ending circular promise: the next place will be the place, the next place will be home. Part of me will always belong to the first home though, my little blue and white cottage in the forest of pavement and cars, but the rest of me? The rest of me is restless. Home will always be one step ahead of me, patiently waiting for me to catch up, always waiting for me to leave a little more of myself on the path.