Not only is this a fabulous Bon Jovi song (Happy 60th Birthday, John!) but it’s also a question that many of us start to ask ourselves as we journey down the road of life.
I’ve been thinking about how funny the stages of life are lately. Not so much funny ha-ha as funny ironic. Inevitably, that which we run from, we at some point long to return to.
In high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate, go to college and make my stamp on the world (a.k.a. getting the heck outta Dodge). I wanted to make a mark so big and fabulous that it would make up for all the bumps of adolescence. The kind that would allow me to go back to my high school class reunions in a stretch limo, dripping in diamonds and self-confidence. Now if that doesn’t give you an idea of how insecure I was in the days of yore nothing will.
So okay, mission accomplished. Left home, went to college, became a model and moved to New York City followed by Los Angeles. During that time I also married the love of my life so as near as I could tell, I was pretty much on track for glory.
My twenties and thirties were spent working hard toward my goals. They were filled with interesting people, exciting experiences and on a good day, a bit of glamor. Yet something was wrong. I was living a life that my teenage self would have declared a victory but it was no longer the life I wanted. Jimmy felt the same way. We had been working so hard to get somewhere that we inadvertently stopped enjoying the journey.
The decision to leave Southern California, and the lives we created there, for the hinterlands of Oregon did not come easily. It did not come painlessly and the transition was a bit of a dilly. Yet it ultimately brought us the one thing that we were hoping to find; a calm center.
Raising our girls in Los Angeles sounded about as appealing as trying to raise them in New York City. While many people enjoy and embrace parenting in an urban environment, this wasn’t for us. We wanted to create for our daughters the childhoods that we were lucky enough to have, small town life at it’s best!
With a huge sigh of relief I can relish the thought that there is no longer a chance of my dying from a stress-induced stroke while sitting in rush hour on the 405. Rush hour in our town consists of five cars backed up at a red light. I don’t have to worry that smog is going to damage my children’s lungs as the worst thing they are going to smell here is the pure stench of animal manure. Play dates often occur spontaneously on the street in front of our house as other children pass by.
These are not the only changes. Instead of having a wardrobe peppered with chic meeting clothes, I almost exclusively live in yoga pants and pullovers. My make-up drawer is nonexistent and I haven’t worn heels higher than tennis shoes in three years. I don’t get manicures anymore because let’s face it, ten minutes later there will just be dirt under my nails again. I now color my own hair, getting the ends trimmed only once a year and shock of shocks, we’ve even started talking about taking the girls camping. Turns out you can go home and that home might just bear a passing resemblance to Green Acres!