I have lived in my apartment for about three years now.
This is the longest I have been in one place since 2011, when I sold the house that I lived in for one month shy of three years. Prior to that, I lived in an apartment for four-and-a-half years. My current apartment has been a roof over my head for a while, but it certainly isn't home.
I showed up here after making a very ill-advised move back from Austin, where I had been living with my boyfriend at the time for just over a year. Austin was the city where I had wanted to be for a while, and my other half was a stand-up dude (sure he got on my nerves sometimes, but they all do). I had a laundry list of reasons as to why I needed to get out of that situation and come back to being alone in a city that I had wanted to escape for years, but the one reason that was glaringly absent from that list was "I AM HAVING MAJOR ANXIETY ISSUES THAT I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH FOR YEARS AND THESE ISSUES ARE NOT BEING PROPERLY DEALT WITH".
Turns out that some people have a hard time processing several major life events that happen in rapid-fire succession, and I am one of these people. Starting in 1999, my life became a blur of illnesses, deaths, new jobs, break-ups, new boyfriends, more break-ups, more jobs... there was hardly a time between starting college and moving back to Atlanta three years ago where I actually allowed myself to properly grieve and process any of the things that happened to me. I tried to brush everything off as quickly as possible, hop on whatever opportunity came my way, and put up as strong and with-it of a front as I could. It seemed to work for a while, or perhaps I had just done an excellent job of convincing myself and others.
Now that my anxiety is not ruling my life, I've stopped running away from things. I'm sitting still. Being able to sit still has given me time to think about home; what it is, and what it isn't. I balk at the saying "There's no place like home" because for me, home isn't a place anymore. It's a feeling, a shared experience - things that do not exist in this apartment. I've had situations in the past three years where I almost thought I might be at home again, but these moments ultimately didn't deliver.
You can't force home. Home just is.
I am ready to be home when it happens again.