Today is my third day back at the house I grew up in.
Right out of college I moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing that ended up being more of a lesson in the kind of job I didn't want than the kind I did. As a result I spent the last year coaching middle school debate and teaching Hebrew and Sunday school while I found my passion for writing again.
One of the things I realized during my tenure in NYC was that where you are can sometimes matter just as much as who you are.
When I spent eight hours of my day in an office staring at a computer screen tracking book publicity on twitter I felt drained and like I couldn't write. I had nothing to say because I wasn't experiencing anything. But this year I spent most of my time on trains rocketing from Brooklyn to Queens to Manhattan listening to podcasts, music, audio books, or just sitting in the hard plastic seats and reading. I spent my mornings writing and my afternoons debating the electoral college or the validity of the death penalty with a classroom of middle school students who cared much more about the government and the world they lived in than any of the people I met during my time in publishing.
I was still living in the same dinky rail-road apartment in Bushwick. I was still ordering way too much Seamless and spending my nights watching Netflix instead of going out, because contrary to what you may believe, New York is much bigger than I ever realized.
But the where of my days was in stark contrast to what it had been before.
I needed this year of riding the train. Of writing on my bed in the mornings and applying to graduate schools and watching twelve-year-old's learn how to speak articulately on any number of incredibly complex topics to realize that I was in the wrong where.
I'm not meant for New York. I don't like the hustle and bustle. I don't like the speed, the rush, the way that any free moment is perceived as a weakness. Life shouldn't be a series of time slots packed with activity after activity so that by the end of the day you collapse and wonder at where the time has gone.
It's true that I've spent three sleepless nights unused to the quiet of the suburban home I grew up in. That I somehow miss the sirens and horns of my old apartment, sandwiched between fire station and hospital. That I'd give anything for the freedom of living apart from my parents even if being back at their house in Pennsylvania means a dishwasher, central AC, a washing machine, and a month rent-free before I move up to New Hampshire for graduate school.
But New York was the wrong where for me. I don't know if New Hampshire will be right or wrong. But I do know that I'm excited to get out of that time-packing mentality. I'm excited to be able to move at my own pace. To spend time writing. Time reading. Time living. Oh and I'm excited to drive again!
So the time is ticking down. I have a little over a month left at my parents. I have a little over a month to figure out how to fit myself back into their world. Into the house that I grew up in but that is no longer the house of my childhood.
We're cleaning out the basement. Sorting through American Girl Dolls and Barbies and old board games with missing pieces. I'm picking out the old discarded furniture that I want to drag with me up North when I go to school. I'm deciding which of my books deserve to make the trip.
I'm once again searching for my where.