I am always out and about. I am just about never home. My friends and family have said one too many times to me that they are unable to get a hold of me. I am notorious for never picking up my phone because I am on the phone all day at work that I do not even want to hear the sound of the ringtone at home. My text messages have become shorter and far and few in between with even fewer people. If I am home, I always doing something at—cleaning, cooking/baking, organizing, and, essentially, always DOING something. For me, there is ALWAYS something to do.
But, something changes when you turn and well into your 30’s and marching forward to 40’s. It isn’t a sudden change. It is a slow change. It is change you do not even realize that it is happening and that YOU are happening in the process. Going out and about until the crack of dawn no longer is appealing or really feasible. Rather, staying at home envelopes you in a glow of happiness and cozy comfort. Loud crowds and hustle and bustle with those you are not so familiar with fades into a great and new need to spend time alone, one on one, or with the extremely small circle that has come to be as we get older. FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT) begins to dissipate and is replaced with FOTO (FEAR OF TIME OUT) with time rushing and running so fast that there is no way you can even try to keep up. It is change in joy and that the ordinary and everyday that we can so easily take for granted is the truly extraordinary. It is a change in priorities in your life because, after all, we all have the same amount of time in the day but not the same priorities.
This past Wednesday, I was forced to stay home because Mother Nature unleashed her fury and wrath in an unexpected and most dreaded snowstorm that came after trees were uprooted, wires downed, broken traffic lights, and power outages. In the midst of the worst, I saw the best where I bonded with complete strangers who were now forced to turn to love and loved ones rather than technology in a time of need. Staying home and connecting with complete strangers who would now be familiar faces made me realize just how much of a homebody I have become. I can blame it on the 30’s and getting older, but it isn’t that. It is this: I am becoming a homebody, and I am loving peace, harmony, quiet, calm, and simple more than ever.
In 30 years of my life, I have had the great gifts and privilege to travel around to many different places. I have treasured every wonder in the world as I wandered. However, I have found that the greatest place that I never really valued or even discovered was home. I never realized the richness and wealth in just lounging lazily on my couch with a furball on my lap, reading a good book, me stirring cake batter at the kitchen table, the aromatic scents of a home cooked meal, the warmth of the oven radiating on me on a cold winter night, chatting on the phone with a good friend as I am sprawled on my bed, or watching and witnessing the magic of a full moon and fat snowflakes falling to make a white blanket right outside my window. I never understood how sitting with my father at the kitchen table I grew up around and over a home cooked meal is such happiness. I never cherished the car rides with my sister right here in the Hudson Valley under the bluest of skies and fluffiest of clouds. And, I do not mean home in the walls that are covered with my family and friend’s photos or the kitchen cabinets that are filled with cooking essentials and tools. I mean HOME in the little that means a lot and sense of community and connecting with and understanding myself, neighbors, family, and few friends. I mean HOME in the right here and now, in the present as the greatest gift. I do not ever see myself losing my wanderlust, adventurer, and zest for life self. I am now just expanding and including the ‘HOME’ side to me that deserves a place for me to embrace. Discovering and understanding yourself is NOT necessarily found around the world, but can be right at home—which can be one of the most daunting and yet comforting places of all.
Our views and ideas of joy and happiness changes as we get older and as our priorities change. Were you always a traveler? Or, were you always a homebody? How have your priorities changed that impact your very own happiness and understanding of you and your surroundings? Does something change in our 30’s when it comes to joy and happiness? What is happiness to you now as opposed to when you were younger?