My home town in New Hampshire has thirteen miles of coastline and the town I grew up in accounted for seven miles of it, accommodating both small town hearts and sea dwellers.
Every summer morning before work started, I jumped in my black Ford escort, bumped my music up, and drove two miles down to the shore. The boys at the local surf shop would always greet me by name, as they sat outside waxing their boards while the sun peaked over the morning ocean waves.
There was a quiet comfort that came with watching the sun rise over the swell, radiating luminosity and hope, no matter how big the waves were. This is how I learned to take on life, gradually, one wave at a time.
I've learned most of my life lessons from the ocean. My brother passed away when I was ten, and since the first realization that I would never sit face to face with him again, I have stood on the same rocks every year overlooking the Atlantic. With each cool off shore breeze, I have tried to reconcile with the universe for taking him away from me.
Watching the waves tenderly meet the sand, washing footprints and rubble away, has taught me the motion of washing my worries clean. However, not all situations result in complacency.
Sometimes people hurt us, and we are let down. Sometimes we are challenged, and it's not until we face our battles, that we find what we are truly capable of. It has been in times of struggle, when hurricanes have stretched tiny waves taller than buildings, that the ocean has taught me to push back.
Home is a funny concept, commonly qualified as a place that holds belongings. I have a bed and that is where I sleep. I have a stove and that is where I cook. I have a closet that I stack my shoes never neatly in. However, I'm not sure that means this one bedroom apartment that I park my black ford escort outside of, is my home.
I spent years trying to escape this town where people rock wetsuits more often than clothing and know your coffee orders by heart. "Large iced chai, soy milk, no problem!"
I left my home for two years in search of tangible, big city dreams. I felt a hunger for tall buildings and heavy traffic, things I thought that I needed to qualify me as successful. The ocean always called me back, and with an inexplicable gravitational pull, it always reminded me to be grateful.
Home isn't where my bills are sent, and it can't be forced to fit within four walls containing everything I've spent money on. The place I call home pushes me to think critically about the challenges life presents me with. Home is a place I can visit to reset my thoughts when I've lost sight of what is important.
It is where my heart rests at the end of every day, even if I don't have a bed to sleep in. It is where I kick my shoes off, even if I don't have a closet to put them in. It is where I feed my heart things it really needs, even if there is no stove in front of me to cook it on.
Carley is a twenty four year old currently living in New Hampshire. After graduating college with a degree in English, and taking a couple of years to travel the globe (ahem, while constantly getting lost using foreign public transportation in large cities) she now resides back in her home town. She is somewhere between trying to have it all figured out, and not even being close, but she writes in hopes that somebody out there thinks the way she does. She has a NikonD3000 that could be considered a third arm, and she may seek surgical help for this eventually. Carley thinks speaking in third person is incredibly awkward, but she's glad you're here anyway. You can find Carley on her personal blog (http://findingravity.com) or on twitter @carbarton. *fistbump*