… or Shut-up State Farm, Your “Nevers” Commercial is Wrong!
A few years ago, I moved out of my house in the ‘burbs into an old apartment in the ceetee. No longer did I have to brave a 45-60 minute commute to dahntahn or have excuses for not going out after getting home in the evening. I once took a bus home at 2:00 AM after a party. It was a new lease on life and I swore I would never buy again. I was free and unmoored; the world was my oyster!
Today, I closed on a new purchase in the Mt Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Wait, what? … I got bored. And at least it’s not in the suburbs, right? Right.
No matter the allure of the jet-setting modern life, as breathlessly hyped by the media, I don’t think humans will ever stop searching for community in some fashion. It’s why we get to know the local bartender or recognize the same food delivery persons. Why we make friends with neighbors we wouldn’t have otherwise befriended. Why we stop to pet the same dog almost every morning. Why we yearn for old friends to move back to the old homestead.
Why we buy a house in our hometown even while wondering how nice it would be to live in Dubai.
In the past, I’ve wondered if/how Third Culture Kids (or any modern kids) can create their own communities. A few winters ago, I chatted with a friend whom I’ve known since 2nd grade. He told me that after hopping around the States for many years after college, he thought he and his family were finally going to settle in one space. It seemed arbitrary – why stop there? He did stop there and seems quite happy about it. (And probably happier still to be messaging an old friend stuck in the dead of winter from outside his sunny southern home. Jagoff.)
Ultimately, the creation of Home and a sense of belonging might come down to something as simple as stopping in one place long enough for life to catch up. One must embrace the terrors of owning furniture. As Edgar Allen Poe once wrote:
Life is what happens while you’re making plans for life.
There’s no particular reason why my family had to come to Pittsburgh, despite my father’s PhD connections from his Pitt days. We could have stuck it out in Nigeria. We could have gone to Bangladesh as some of our family friends did. We could have moved to Papua New Guinea and indeed I’ve met folks who grew up there who loved it. My point is that we stayed long enough in Pittsburgh for it to become home.
Now, I’m on my second house. Seeing as how State Farm is my insurance company, I just hope that terrifyingly brilliant “Never” commercial isn’t prescient. Come visit!