Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Can't Go Home - Or Can You?

Subtitle: #spoiledyuppieproblems

I'm lucky to be able to go home to California a few times a year. I'm unlucky to be able to go home to California a few times a year.

Little detail at the home of my friend, the International Woman of Mystery; it's the sort of Spanish architecture (and friend) I miss most.
Confused? Me too. I just know that every time I return from a trip back to sunny San Diego, lo these seven years since I've moved to Texas, I come back in a bit of a melodramatic fog, a wistful tumble of "What ifs?" and homesickness. What if it's true that you can't - or shouldn't - really go home again?

(Not to be confused by the sort of "Huh???" ennui brought on by your average "Mad Men" episode, which is running at a 18.4 average this season. Zou Bisou Bisou don't you wish you knew where they were going with all of this?)

I miss the palm trees. I miss the beach. I miss my best friends. I miss decent weather and theater, mostly in that order. Hell, I sometimes even miss that slightly flaky frame of mind that passes as "laid back" there. More than anything, I miss the dream of the life I once envisioned - the schools to which I'd send my kids, the neighborhood I'd dreamed about moving to - the ones my best friends would have all lived in, conveniently - the summer beach parties . . .

. . . and yet . . . yet . . . to move back there would be to sacrifice the quality of life we have here, my ability to stay home with the wee CEO and live in a good school district and all of that other boring stuff we Smug Mummies care about. Living here, we can also travel and have occasional date nights out and still live comfortably, and this yuppie is incredibly grateful for it.

There's a lot of Texas that comes naturally to me, particularly now as a parent. I like the emphasis on family here, and I'm down with church and football, usually in that order. My head knows this.

I believe in blooming where you're planted, as it were - I can find happiness wherever I live. It's just that I'm not planted where I once thought I'd be. It's a wonderful life - just a different one than I'd envisioned.

Is it awful to admit that it would be strange for me to move back home and not be able to afford the life I enjoyed as a child?

Can I finally learn to live with missing home while appreciating the wonderful new home I have here?

Can we all admit that "GCB" is the best thing going in new television right now, big haired Hollywood-ized Texas camp and all?

Anyone else struggle with the desire to go home - or just "GCB"-style melodrama in general (sans the big hair, unfortunately - believe me, I've tried)?


Jessica said...

Funny. I grew up in Dallas, and I'm transplanted to St Louis now. I feel the exact same way about my respective cities (even the financial part - we're here for a unique job for my husband and he'd take a pay cut were we to move anywhere else). Don't have words of wisdom, but... yep.


I still can't wrap my head around the idea that I'm here to stay. I came for law school and it feels like I'm just waiting things out here until I can move back to the land I love. ;)

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...


"slightly flakey frame of mind that passes as laid back"....Uh, double yes.

As usual, living parallel lives. Except for the part of living in a more affordable place. But otherwise yes.

Jessica Hudson said...

I feel exactly the way you do, but the opposite. Does that make sense? I'm here in the beautiful OC and so grateful for all the amazing things to do and see, but sad that I'll never have a house like the one I grew up in or be able to take my kids on the amazing vacations I grew up going on. I've especially been sad about it since having T. We live walking distance to the beach and we've probably been three times. We spend so much time at home and it sure would be nice if that home were a little bigger with a big, fancy backyard.

I guess my point is, when it comes to this time in our lives, I think you're in the better place. I'd trade you nearly daily!

If you want reassurance, just take a little gander on Redfin.com and see how much the houses cost. You'll be kissing that Texas ground you live on!

Adrienne said...

Aww, I so understand. I totally feel the same way about CA, but my family is here, and my husband's family is here, and well, you know.

So it is completely bittersweet to go.

The Shabby Princess said...

You know how much I ache for the sand, salt and sun too. It's a vicious cycle--I miss it tremendously, but when I go home, I always feel like I couldn't move back--mainly for whole I'd live in a shanty if I sold my house and went back to CA. But. But, there are times when I just want to be two miles from the beach again. Waaahhh.

Also, GCB is amazing.

Alanna said...

Gah - what a timely post after dropping off my Mama at the airport this morning so she could return home to (Northern) CA. We are in a somewhat similar situation, but there is no chance we could sell our house here in GA right now, we are so underwater! Even if we could, it would probably wipe out our (meager as they are) savings to move and just wouldn't be the smart thing to do. Not to mention finding a job for me and for the hubby given the employment situation in CA right now.

It was fine and good living across the country from all of our family until K came along. Now I know he is going to miss all the family dinners and celebrations and summers spent at the family beach house and all of the traditions I always dreamed I would make my kids a part of. And that always, always hurts, no matter how good our current situation is. I told my husband the other day that I just have to grieve the loss of that.

And I still cry every time I get on the plane in California.

But we make new "family" and we create our own traditions and instead of trips to the Cambria house, we have special (long) flights to Grandma's house. And we have learned how to Skype. And we have a great thing here in Georgia. Like you said, "it's a wonderful life, just a different one that I'd envisioned." So yes, I think we can learn to live with missing "home," while appreciating the wonderful new home we have.

Lindsay said...

Oh I know so well how you feel. I am from the OC and now live in Illinois. With our first baby on the way I worry I'll never get back home to my family, friends, beach,sun. Will our child ever know what it's like to grow up in a place like the OC? Maybe not, but that's ok. We are making our own home here and our kids will know that and we will be able to provide in a way my "home" makes it hard to do.

I feel ya sister! And GCB cracks me up too.

Tippy said...

I love that saying, bloom where you're planted. I feel like I'm the exact opposite. I feel like I'm restless after a few years, no matter where I live. But being away from the US is a special type of ache that I've not felt before. I like living in Europe for the travel opportunities I've had, but I cannot wait to move back to the US. For me, being near family and friends and familiarity just wins out.

But I think you're OK to have that ache for CA. It probably won't go away, and just savor it instead of wishing it would disappear. It means your childhood home is part of you and that's something to hang onto IMO.

But quality of life is huge, and if you can afford to go home, AND travel and pay for Master P's tennis lessons when the time comes, all the better.

I've only seen 2 episodes of GCB but it was campy good fun.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I so feel you on this. I love where we are now, but I can't help but miss Savannah more and more every time I go back. But like you said, the schools are better here, houses are more affordable, and I don't have to work like a slave to buy nice things.. Guess it all depends on what is most important to you at this stage. At this stage? I choose BG. So what she needs comes first.

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