Home may not be the location you were born in, or grew up in, but finding that place where bone deep, your heart sings, I’m home. Now that’s a journey worth taking. And some times it leads you right back to where you started.
I’m always drawn back to my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, but I also love to explore far and wide. I love my husband and would probably follow him to the ends of the earth. He’s why I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I think we’ve built a wonderful life for our children and family, and it’s home for my kids. It’s where they grew up. And even though they are venturing away and living other places, when they think of home, it’s Atlanta and it always will be.
So, I get it. We all have strong attachments, fond memories centered around places, friends, family, and food. But I think I’m learning that just like people, places don’t stand still, they are growing and changing and you can’t put them in a box. You have to jump in and be part of those changes.
On this last visit to Omaha, I had a few realizations that on some levels made me sad and on other levels made me so proud of the city Omaha is growing into. In short, the city has grown a lot and is much bigger which means there is more traffic and people, duh, I know. You can’t get anywhere in town in 15 – 20 minutes anymore.
A lot of the institutions: restaurants, ethnic bakeries, and shops are closing – I suspect, people are retiring and there are not kids that want to continue on with the family businesses, increased competition, increased costs of real estate, and most likely the sprawling growth to the west of town that is starting to isolate many of the older neighborhoods, all play a part in the changing landscape of shops and restaurants that I miss when I’m away.
The uniqueness of Omaha is dimming, in my opinion, and that makes me sad. I’m bolstered by the thought that some of the emerging businesses will one day be those new institutions that people associate with Omaha. And I know the amazing older houses will see a resurgence of interest as people get tired of the big suburban cookie cutter houses and the traffic, and venture back into town.
So even though, I see a lot of changes, one thing that never fails me is that when I step off of that plane, I can breathe, deeply, and my heart know, I’m home.
My heart rate literally slows down. I smile more. I laugh more. I hug more. I dream more. I’m just, home. My youngest son said to me, this place makes you so happy and I get why you love it here. You should live here again.
So, while I don’t know if living in Omaha again will be part of my journey, I do know that it is a part of who I am. May we all continue our journeys until we find those places to call home.