I grew up with one foot in Santiago, Chile and one foot in Chicago, Illinois, in a family of travelers. I was incredibly lucky, my parents gave me summers all over the place, from a quiet seaside town in Mexico, to Italy, to the Amazon and the Galápagos. I found that as I grew up I was searching for a place that felt like home, and as I grew older and continued to travel on my own I began to grow more afraid that no such place actually existed. I was accustomed to wandering off whenever I got bored, it seemed that I was destined to always be in a temporary state. I was always working somewhere new, living somewhere new, visiting somewhere new. I was always renting, living paycheck to paycheck, never expecting anything otherwise. I was an art major, I grew up knowing I wanted to be an artist, even if it meant living in a cardboard box. The idea of putting down roots, of buying a condo, much less a house, was laughable.
This was my mindset, learned from experience, when I ran off to Long Beach just before my 29th birthday. And all of a sudden there I was. I’d found a place that had all the parts of the places I’d loved. The friendliness of the midwest, the laid-back attitude of the Caribbean, the nightlife of LA just next door, the ocean and mountains of Chile. It just had everything. To make things even sweeter, there I met my giant husband, who embodies so well that spirit of Long Beach that I fell in love with. I also began to work for American Dad!, the beginning of what had the possibility of becoming a solid career in television, one that had me laughing and enjoying my workdays.
Yet, even then, I put down no roots, I knew somewhere in my deepest subconscious that this wasn’t permanent. And I was right, only a year later we were married and I left my job and my lovely Long Beach to follow my husband to Charleston, South Carolina, a place I didn’t feel at home at all. I had always known that once I found the right person I wouldn’t care where I was or what my job was, because everything else in life is temporary. The giant husband likes to say I married down, leaving my job in LA, but to me it was a no brainer, and even through the 2 years in Charleston, which were extremely difficult for me, I have never doubted that decision. Thankfully, 2 years later we were off again and landed on our lovely little island.
Now, just over a year since we bought our little home, something finally *clicked* in my brain. I’ve settled down. I own property in a place. I don’t expect to leave this place, (other than for visits), for the next 10 years or so. As if that weren’t incredible enough, imagine my astonishment when the giant husband and I had a long talk about our roles in the marriage now that we are settled and I learned that his wishes for our roles boil down to this: he expects to provide enough for us that we can afford to have me just art. His words. Because, if I art really good, that will bring in some money anyway, so I should art all the time. His words again.
Even re-reading that now I still can’t wrap my mind around it. You mean, after working 1 or 2 jobs since I was 15, I can just be an artist and you’ll take care of everything else? On top of that you want to take care of me in our own little home on a tiny tropical island?
So I’ve settled into a routine, every day working on projects that have limped along in the time I had available after work for the last few years. And every day I look at my situation here and at the progress on my current canvas and I’m both content and astounded. Somehow, after so many years of searching, I managed to land in the lap of a man who had always dreamed of being an artist’s patron, and when he comes home to see me paint smeared and smiling he feels as content as I do being paint smeared and smiling. This is home, this is my giant husband, this is my career. I’m going to wake up any moment now, right? Shhhh…let me keep sleeping, this is such a wonderful dream.
2 thoughts on “Searching for Home and Stumbling Upon Happiness”
Love this post! And glad that you have such a good guy. We went through something similar, in that Keith asked me to stop working so much (which, in my field, means no longer working). I’ve been able to do so much that I enjoy instead – volunteering, finishing a second degree, working part-time with causes close to my heart. And now, being a stay-at-home mom, which I never, ever thought I would be. It’s the wonderful deliciousness of life that you find yourself in places you’d never imagined, looking back on that interesting, quirky and sometimes painful journey to where you are now. It’s great that you can focus on your passion, and that your husband is happy doing what he is doing to make that possible. Enjoy every moment!
I’m just now seeing this post and I’m over-the-moon thrilled for you! Yay art! Yay contentedness! All of this is wonderful, and I’m so, so, happy for you.