Growing up in Brooklyn, I often went to Manhattan (what we New Yorkers call "the city") just to walk around. There's something truly fascinating about walking around a city. When I was younger I didn't explore it much because I usually just walked around to get somewhere. I always felt like I was a hamster in a ball, just rolling and rolling until I got to my destination in my own bubble. I never bothered to look at the people around me. I suppose in NYC everyone is in their own bubble. When I was in high school, I remember halfway through my commute the Q train would stop at 14th Street Union square. I don't remember the exact day this started, but I would often get off at that stop if I had the chance just to take a break. I finally started walking around without the intention to get somewhere. I sat on the steps in the center and watched people walk by, people performing with their artistic abilities, and people playing chess. Suddenly I felt safe; like I could always come to this place to meditate even though it wasn't this quiet place that most people would think of when it comes to meditating. Union square is crowded and busy but not in the same way as more touristy places in Manhattan (like Times Square). Whenever I observed people here, it made me feel like I was never going be alone. That somehow all these strangers I was observing would always be here for me. At some point, as I continued my education into college, I started to feel a little suffocated from living in the city my entire life. I knew I needed to find my own space so I could be independent and have more alone time. I never lived on my own until I left New York. I moved out of the city almost two years ago for a new job - my first big girl job I was offered after I graduated college. I moved to a small town in New Jersey close to the shore. I remember being really homesick in the beginning, especially around December when I knew all the holiday lights would drape around the city so gorgeously.
And I didn't move far, so I was often coming back to visit my family and friends. But when I came back I didn't feel like I ever wanted to live in New York again. Eventually I got settled into my new home and I felt a new sense of safeness. This time being able to meditate in a large quiet empty room rather than a crowded city. I guess it felt safe because this room was truly mine and only mine. Knowing I could depend on myself was a huge deal for me. Now I go back to New York a little less often, and when I do I can appreciate the walking mediation and people-observing that once gave me another safe space.
There are different things to appreciate about living in a city and living in a small rural neighborhood. But for some reason I don't think I have found my ultimate safe space. Lately, I've been traveling to different cities and I've also been getting in touch with nature (Jersey has incredibly gorgeous beaches and mountains). And while I'm enjoying my adventures I'm still not sure where my next home will be or if I'll ever find a place to settle, find a place where I truly belong. When I realize that I still feel lost I feel a quaint sadness in the back of my mind. But taking the time to tune in to my feelings while exploring new places is making me feel like it's okay. I guess I'm wondering: where's home? Will I ever find it? Does it exist? Until then I will have to keep exploring while still being present with where I am now.