Belonging

I’m a bit of a solitary person, although maybe you wouldn’t realize it—even if you know me really well. I can be very social when the mood strikes. All the same, my default setting is to be alone. You could say I’m lonely, but maybe we’re all just lonely, waiting for the right person to take that loneliness away. Who knows?

But I think part of that solitary loneliness has to do with ‘not-knowing’ where I belong in the world, not-knowing where I fit in. I moved around so much as a kid, it was hard to figure out which of the places I lived deserved the title “home”. I know there’s the old cliché of home being wherever your family is, but it doesn’t cut it. Geography has a powerful pull on people. It provides this tangible backdrop that can’t be replaced so easily.

In the past few years, Guelph has become home to me, but it wasn’t always the case. Certainly not while I was living in Montréal. Although my grandparents lived here, it has only begun to feel like home since I moved back after grad school. Before then it was simply another one of those places I lived as a child—another name on a long list that blurred together over time.

I sound bitter—I’m not, really. I have memories from each place, and they’re good ones for the most part. But the experience of moving halfway across the world took away something most others have…and that’s part of what makes me different: more solitary, more independent.

Guelph Sunset Solitary Lonely

Without any direct intention, most of my past three years have been about finding a place where I “belong”, a place that feels like home—a comfort zone. It’s easy to push yourself to new challenges. But what if there is nowhere to catch you when you fall? We all need to take a step back occasionally, to stop ourselves from burning out.

I think some sort of comfort zone has always been present, in the form of my parents, but attaching that ‘idea’ to a geographical place has made it more than just a safety net. It’s become a separate world, with characters and locales of its own. It’s more than just the presence of family that makes Guelph feel like a safe place—it’s the sense of belonging to it as well. Even if I moved back here alone, I know I would be comfortable. And I can’t say the same for many other places.

There will come a day, soon, when I feel the need to move onto the next adventure in my life. But for now, this is a good place to be. It’s good to feel like you belong somewhere.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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