I don’t know what I am. But I’m something.
A little pit in my stomach. A little heaviness in my step. A little haze in my head. Not the purple kind. Just the bleh kind.
It’s possible that I’m a homesick. Homesick for what, though?
I was born and raised in Minneapolis. A hearty man of the northland. And by hearty I mean dainty. I spent most of my life in the Twin Cities. 33 years of it, anyway. And then I set out for Pennsylvania in the year of our Lord 2015. When the world was still pure and innocent and new.
And now it’s 2022 and I’m typing words into a blog in Iowa City after returning to the Midwest. And there’s a little pit in my stomach. Homesick. For The Twin Cities? for Pennsylvania? For something.
We spent seven years building a life in Central Pennsylvania. In State College. The boys grew up there. Katie and I grew up there. I grew up there. Grew out, too. Get a load of my belly. It’s bigger than it was in 2015. This is the way of things, I’m afraid. Our charming and boyish good looks fade like the brightest flowers of the field. At least mine do. Doesn’t matter if those good looks are dainty or hearty. They wither.
I helped to build an improv company in State College. Hard and disciplined work that resulted in a thriving community and an actual brick and mortar theatre. Yes, the work of running a small business doesn’t interest me. Or suit me. And the brutal hours and terrible (lack of) pay were brutal. Especially for a young man with two young children at home. Still. I miss doing improv. Facilitating improv. Making things with others. New opportunities will arise, I’m sure. But they haven’t yet.
My job with Penn State was so comfortable. Penn State Altoona. Penn State University Park. I’d carved a little niche for myself. Yes, there were trials and tribulations. Challenges. Conflicts. Drawbacks to my position. But, after seven years, I had a sense for what those problems were and could plan accordingly. Don’t get me wrong. I’m ecstatic about my position at The University of Iowa. It’s a great job. And a great place. It was time for a change, and I’m eager to get into a routine in this new position. Still, I’ll miss the people I met in Pennsylvania. I miss having a sense of what my working life looks like. Again, those things will come here. But they haven’t yet.
Our beautiful house with a view of the mountains. Green space in the backyard. A quiet place on a country lane. A horse farm down the road. A few miles from a quiet school in the country. State College school district. The boys playing baseball in the big back yard. Riding their scooters to the park. Raving about their teachers. Iowa City will have all of these things too, I’m sure. Sans mountains. Still, for the moment, I’ll miss the things I’ve listed in this paragraph.
The Twin Cities are my home. And now I guess State College, Pennsylvania is my home too. Iowa City will become home. But it isn’t yet. And so there’s a little bleh in my step. A little haze. A little homesickness.
Moving is hard. Moving to a new place is hard. Doing these things with a family is hard. Starting a new job is hard. Setting forward into a new life is hard. Very Abrahamic. I’m happy to be doing these things. Feels right to be doing these things. But it also feels important to notice that these things are hard. To lament what is lost even as I look to what is next.
That’s where I’m at this week. A little homesick, maybe.