It is interesting to lead a life where the most common question you get, not just from old acquaintances, but from members of your own small community is, “Where are you living now?” It’s even more interesting when the answer is not always straightforward (and I’m not a fan of straightforward answers).
I have lived the last nine years as a vagabond, moving an average of three times a year and as many as seven times in a single year (not including short week-long transitional intervals). And the places I’ve lived: garages (not garage apartments – just garages), a quonset, a yurt, trailers and RVs, guest rooms, basement suites, my parent’s basement, my brother’s basement (too many basements!), a room at the Passion Play lodge (not the kind of lodge you may be picturing), the occasional house, and the back of my van.
This has been a lesson. A long lesson in dependency, independency and interdependency. On flexibility and adaptability. On living with little and being grateful for what you have. On purging the unnecessary and celebrating simplicity. On not taking for granted things like heat and running water. On quickly getting your bearings when you wake up and are not sure where you are. A lesson on feeling a little like a stranger no matter where you are.
And it has been trying and tiring; expending too much brainpower and energy on trying to keep what I have in order instead of keeping myself focused on the dreams and tasks ahead. “A place for everything and everything in its place” – how does that work when the “place” keeps changing? Perhaps the new lesson is that I need a consistent place to live and to work. Perhaps I even deserve it.
So now all of this is changing. After nine years of absence I am (unexpectedly) moving back into my own house, a building which I have owned in partnership with a financial institution for almost 25 years. This place has memories and ghosts for me – ones I pray I can deal with. I can only hope it has dreams and opportunities as well. Like the dream of creating an art studio where on a daily basis I can exercise long-dormant creative muscles. A welcoming place to teach and learn. A place of hospitality and community. A place where I can both pursue and share my passions. A place where all those lessons learned can find some sort of fulfillment.
“Where are you living now?”