Monday, March 26, 2012

"Home" is a Big Word

I got up at 12:51 this afternoon, after going to bed a little after 3 this morning. I felt down because I didn't want that to happen. If I got up at 11, that's fine because I'd have most of the day ahead of me, including one hour left of the morning. But 12:51 already puts me squarely into the afternoon and what can I possibly do with just the afternoon and the evening? Come to think of it, do I really need the morning that much if I'm in a state of flux right now what with waiting for the day to come when we finally escape from the Santa Clarita Valley for good? Yes, I do, because I need to transition myself back to the morning so I can wake up early during that one time or two more times that we're in Henderson and Las Vegas and not feel like I did after we got home. (More to come in a future entry.) That of course entails going to bed earlier, which I will do because I need to be up earlier in those instances, and after we move, when I've got a job again that requires me to be up at 6:30 or perhaps even earlier.

To have a fulfilling day in this valley, you have to ignore your surroundings. There is nothing interesting here during the day to inspire you, to make you feel secure. After I got up and thought I would probably accomplish absolutely nothing today, I immediately thought about that, how there's nothing here, how's there everything in Henderson and Las Vegas. I'm tired of just thinking about the Galleria at Sunset mall, about finally getting a library card again after what will be a little over a year, about driving roads I know I can drive and street names worth memorizing. I want to be there. I want to do all those things.

Still we have to wait. But not too much longer. Late this afternoon, Mom and Dad signed a paper, an approval of the appraisal, or something else related to the house. Well, I know it was something related to the house, but I only paid attention to its significance of bringing us to the point of handing this place over to a realtor when we're ready, when Dad's assured of a job over there, which we think will come soon, because we are not spending another year here. We're done.

It's overwhelming to me, though, and not in an emotional way or feeling like there's so much to do and I'll never get it done. Suddenly, I have all these options coming to me, all these things I can do in my two new hometowns, all these sights to see, all these roads to explore, all these Nevada history books to read (and once I have my library card, I'm going to ransack the Nevada history sections). If we had stayed in Valencia instead of moving to Saugus, the transition from Santa Clarita to Henderson would have been easier because at least we would have remained in a hub of things to do, things going on, and it never took long to walk to the library from our apartment. But having been starved of genuine parks, of shopping centers that feel like they're centered on a sense of community, of living somewhere that has just one high and low temperature for miles and miles (not eight or nine different climate zones as it is here in Southern California), that's why I'm overwhelmed. I can have my favorite mall whenever I want, and also set out to explore new malls. It takes a mere 20 minutes to reach the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana Avenue in Las Vegas. And I was serious when I told my mom I want to explore every single inch of Henderson and Las Vegas, and then Summerlin. I want to know everything about my two hometowns.

When we lived in Florida, I had Walt Disney World every weekend and sometimes during the week for a few years, and then we moved to South Florida, where I occasionally had the Sawgrass Mills Mall (take a helicopter above it and it's in the shape of an alligator) in Sawgrass, the Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs, and the Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines. It wasn't only malls, though. I had Publix and Winn-Dixie and parks and other points of interest as well, but I never had them in any one place because we moved so many times throughout Florida. I never had a home base from which I could go to other places and then come back to it. This time I will. I know I can make a great life in Henderson. And I know that when I travel throughout New Mexico in the years to come and go to all those presidential libraries, I can always go back to my home base in Henderson.

I know I'm only 28, and that things can change in life, but I don't think so with this. Maybe I'll visit Walt Disney World again one day, but at this point in my life, I can't only have Walt Disney World nearby. I need a lot more now, and Las Vegas fits it with a hedonistic lifestyle I passionately believe in. Whatever pleasure you want, you can probably find it there. And that's another huge load of history I want to study. Plus, the Midwest and East Coast would be far too cold for me in winter. So Henderson and Las Vegas are it. It's where I truly belong, and I feel it all the time. When we walked through the Galleria at Sunset mall, I thought to myself, "I think I've had dreams about this mall." Considering the dreams I do have often about malls and amusement parks and Walt Disney World, I belong there. All of it, including the rollercoaster at New York-New York and the Pinball Hall of Fame and various other arcades I've not seen yet, should be part of my waking life too. I wake up from those dreams, look around, and think, "I'm still here?" Here in Santa Clarita. But waking from those dreams there, I'd think, "I'm still here!" Huge difference to a soul seeking daily vibrancy.

The word "home" has only four letters, but it's big. In those four letters is everything I've ever hoped for, everything I never considered when I lived in Florida because I felt secure even with being relatively rootless from so much moving. I never knew how much I was missing in Florida until I came here. I want roots, finally. I need roots. I want to know that where I am is where I can always be. It's there. I can feel that vibrancy every minute I'm there, looking to that Las Vegas skyline, going to Chinatown there, passing by the airport and watching planes take off and land. I loved it when we drove past Fort Lauderdale International and planes would take off and land above us, and when we'd go to Miami International to park and watch the planes, and experience the same thing. I can have the same thing all the time now at McCarran International. It's there for me whenever I want it, even when I'm not thinking about it, seeing planes seemingly hovering in the air as they're on approach to land at McCarran.

As much as I think right here about what home will mean to me, I will fall right into its rhythms once I become a resident. I will begin to know it right at the start, making up quickly for these eight years, and it'll be like I've never lived anywhere else, which is what I want. I'll always appreciate Florida for making me what I am, but this is where I want to be, where I know I'll thrive, where waking up from a dream leads to living a dream. What better hope for life?

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