Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Settle

Not too long ago, I wrote about my charm bracelet.  I feel silly writing about a piece of jewelry, especially a charm bracelet.  That sounds so juvenile.  But it's really not about the jewelry or the charm itself.  It's about what it represents and I do feel that is worth writing about.

I had decided that I wanted to take my time in filling up my bracelet and I have to admit that it doesn't look all too appealing dangling from my wrist at this present moment.  But since it has more sentimental value to me than appearance value, I wear it almost daily.

When I went to Las Vegas, the only souvenir that I bought myself was a charm.  That trip was so much more than just a vacation.  It was a concrete representation of how far I had come in my healing and growth and I wanted to have something to remind me of this.  So I was thrilled when I saw a Pandora store.  Even though I happened to forget to put on my bracelet that morning, and even though my bracelet is not a Pandora and I really didn't like any of the charms, I still bought one.

The image above is the charm I bought.  Not exactly what you'd think of when thinking of Vegas, huh?  In my defense, I had just returned from the Grand Canyon and was inspired by that wonderful experience.  I thought it was whimsical and would match the flower I already had.  No, not so much.  I regretted it almost as soon as I put it on my bracelet.

I settled.

I don't want to settle for anything less than what I want or deserve.  I shouldn't have to and I don't have to.  The best part... I am in complete control of that.  Part of my healing process is making sure that my mind is healthy.  And in actuality, nothing else is going to fall into place if its not.  (This blog is just one of the pieces that helps me to do just that and it has been a very powerful release for me. :))

I feel good.  I really do.  I have my moments.  I welcome them and let them pass right on through just as quickly as they arrive though.  I feel that through everything, I have been left with a stronger mindset.  I am optimistic.  I am confident.  I have a perspective on life that is invaluable... I can find beauty in the small, I appreciate the little things, I don't stress over stupid things and I am handling being a single mom with energy, patience, and complete gratitude in having the most precious of gifts.

All things considered, I am happy.  I only want to add more happiness to my life.  Settling for anything, even a charm (lol),  is not going to add to what I need and want from life.  And it's entirely up to me what I invite into my world and what I let go.

So here it is, my replacement charm.  It's called Blue Desert.  The gold bling, reminds me of the gaudy bling of Las Vegas.  The background color doesn't necessarily remind me of the desert or the Grand Canyon, but having the word desert in the name is good enough for me.  This piece complements my others and is a perfect fit.  And that's all I wanted... a significant piece that compliments.  

As for the charm I settled on... it hangs with others and it stands out as the ugly duckling.  In a way, I don't mind that it stands out.  It is the first one that catches my eye every time I look down at my bracelet.  And for now, that may just be the best thing.  As I have started to venture into dating, I want to remind myself that this more than any other area in my life is the one that I do not want to settle in.  There is too much to gain in waiting for that complimentary piece and too much to lose in settling.

Don't Settle.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baggage



video


The photo displayed above was taken by a photographer that I was introduced to in Las Vegas.  His name is Jeff Mitchum and I became instantly captivated with his work the moment I stepped into his gallery in The Bellagio.  This piece that I am sharing with you is called "Third Day."  It was titled this because he said it "felt like one could be carried off into eternity with the light..." and that it "represents the resurrection of life." (http://www.jeffmitchum.com/image-portfolio/4X5/)

I paired it with another piece composed by Dustin O'Halloran titled, "We Move Lightly."  I felt that the combination of these two pieces were very much appropriate for the topic that I want to write about tonight, baggage.

I have not shared any intimate details about my husband's death, but in order to authenticate my thoughts for tonight, I do want to share just a bit.  My husband was sick and was for quite some time. Love cannot shield all and the sickness did start to take its toll on me as well.  Having said that, I do bare some wounds from that experience.  I have healed a great deal in what has almost been year since my husband's passing.  My healing process not only consisted of dealing with the loss of my husband,  but of also finding myself once again.  I am now 33 years old.  I am widowed.  I have a two year old child.  I am finding myself.  And I am building a new life.  There's a lot going on right now.  I wouldn't call it drama, but I wonder how many men look at me and see baggage.  

I have not kept the fact that I am a single (widowed) mother a secret on the online dating site that I am on.  There have been many men that have written to me.  There have been some that have immediately asked about the how.  And then there are the ones that may have been turned away by this.  I am not trying to be unfair.  I actually have no idea how many men have looked at my profile and clicked next after reading about me.  It could be very few or it could be a great number.  I do have to say though that I have read on many men's profiles that they don't want anyone with "baggage."   I guess every one's idea of baggage varies.  I do wonder how I am viewed.  

This is what I have to say about baggage, not just my own, but for anyone who has "baggage."  It's not baggage.  It's called life.  It means you took chances, you experienced, you survived, you learned, you grew... you lived.  If you can walk away... walk away gracefully... move lightly, then how is that baggage?  Baggage is heavy.  It is cumbersome.  It should not be confused with one living a life.  

I have thought about what type of man I wanted to find.  I wondered if a man who was widowed or divorced would be a better match because they would have had experienced a marriage and (some form of) a loss.  Then I quickly disregarded that thought as I felt more strongly that it really depends on the individual.  However, I have began a correspondence with a man who is widowed.  I first viewed his picture and thought he was adorable.  He reminded me of someone, someone whose character I really liked and so I immediately viewed him a nice guy.  Second, I saw that he was widowed.  Third, I read about him and found him to be very interesting.  We have gone back and forth a few times now and I get a very good vibe from him.  I am very much into words and I find his to be very kind and genuine.  He is interesting.  And the fact that he has experienced a great loss as I have myself really is in the backseat.  However, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I feel this unspoken understanding with him, this man I have never met.  I do not know anyone personally that has had this experience.  It is not that I wish it on anyone, but it does happen and it is a bit of a comfort knowing that an unfortunate as it is, it is a commonality; one that is not shared with most others.

 I was listening to this song, "We Move Lightly" and it made me think that this is how I have tried to move on with my life, Lightly.  Gracefully.  Optimistically.  I have been thinking a lot about what some of the people who know me best have said about me throughout this past year.  I am a modest person so it is a bit uncomfortable to write this, but I have been admired for my strength and grace in dealing with such a traumatic event and its aftermath.  It is often said, that one's true character is revealed in the toughest of times.  I would very much like to meet this man.  I think that his true character will be revealed in who he has become and what he has done since his loss.  This could turn into something, just a friendship, or absolutely nothing.  But my gut... it's telling me he is remarkable.  It's based on very little.  It's just a gut feeling, and what do I always say, trust your gut.  Maybe I will find out.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.  It's time for a date already (lol)!









Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Passion

Passion... defined as an intense desire or devotion to a person or a thing.  It's a compelling emotion, an arduous love...  

I am a person who appreciates a wide range of interests.  As an adult, I have never felt as though I was particularly strong or shined in any one area (except two).  I always felt as though I knew a little bit about many things rather than knowing a great bit about few things.  

When I was younger, I was very passionate about sports.  I started to play softball at a very early age and was quite good at it.  My teams always did very well.  I was even part of the New York State Little League Champions of 1994, lol.  In high school, I took up soccer.  This was the weakest of my "big three," but I had a great time.  I put in a lot of effort to get better, to be the best that I could, and if nothing else, I was in phenomenal shape.  My favorite though was basketball.  I loved, loved, loved basketball.  I even went to college to play basketball (that in itself is another story).  It didn't matter the season or the sport, I was committed to each one and I was busy year round, for years and years.  This passion however did fade after I went to college and didn't play anymore.  

Immediately following my college years, I got a full time teaching job.  I loved it.  It became my new passion.  I poured in hours and hours making my lessons the best I could possibly make them, taking professional development classes, taking graduate courses, volunteering to tutor, etc., etc., etc.  Admittedly, I do not pour in those hours like I did with gusto in my earlier years.  But, I still consider myself passionate about my career even as I have begun to look into different avenues and opportunities within the realm of education.  I feel that I have grown as a person and have new desires and have a need for new challenges.  It has nothing to do with a lack of passion, I believe it is because of my passion that I want to expand myself in my field.  

My other passion lies with my family.  In particular the family that I chose to create.  The family created when I was married.  This family included the two dogs that my husband and I raised from the time they were only weeks old until just recently (they are now almost 11 and 10) and of course the family that was complete with the birth of our son.  

I do have loving parents, siblings, grandparents, countless cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.  But I don't live near any of them (except friends).  I keep in touch, but it's different when it's long distance.  So, my family that I still hold so much passion for now only consists of my son.  I love being a mother. I am not perfect by any means.  But I try to be the best and to do the best for my son, whom I love above all else.  

In this new life, I have begun to discover things about myself that were both either known and hidden or just completely foreign to my knowledge.  Instead of feeling all over the place, I do feel that I have a more defined identity and I feel that part of the reason are these new interests (they don't yet deserve the title of passions, yet) that I have found.  

This is what puts a smile on my face...
  • Writing - This blog has not only been therapeutic for me, I actually do enjoy it.  I have lists in my head of future post topics and I love when they hit me at the most random of times.  I also have started to embrace the fact that I love writing curriculum and this is the avenue that I am going to peek into it to see if it is something that I truly have a passion for.  If not, there is always that unfulfilled dream of becoming a children's book author.  I have written a couple actually, but no, I am not published.
  • Photography - I shared some of this just the other day.  This is one that took me by surprise.   But it makes me feel happy to be able to enjoy the beauty in the most simplistic of things.  I have begun to look at galleries and showings of some of these more well known photographers.
  • Wine - I had wanted to start a wine club.  But recently had some friends over and found that just sitting around drinking wine and talking is fun enough.  No need to make it educational.  That's what wine classes are for, which I do want to take.  And a stop in Napa Valley when I'm in California is definitely on the agenda.
  • Music, The Classical Stuff - When I was pregnant, I used to listen to Yo Yo Ma and fell in love with him and his cello.  I have since added on the piano, in particular Dustin O'Halloran and Michael Nyman.  
  • The British Accent - (lol)  I seem to love all English movies.  And would love, love to date someone with English ties.  
  • Travel - In this past year, I have traveled both near and far.  I have been to Washington D.C., North Carolina, Virginia, Maine, Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon.  I have also travelled across New York State, literally, more times than I can count.  And, I still have two definitive plans this summer, The Adirondack's and California.  I think all things considered, that's pretty good.  I have met some neat people and have had a great time on all of my trips.  I look forward to even more great experiences in travelling.  
  • Reading - I have started a book club and will be reading wide variety of genres there.  But, I also enjoy reading the National Geographic Travel magazine, and The Smithsonian.  I feel like they help culture me in a sophisticated way, lol.  
  • Finally, Yoga and Pilate's!  They both work my body, relax my mind, and best of all, make me feel great inside and out.  I actually look forward to going to the gym now.
Where is this all coming from?  Well, I was going to open with the inspiration for this post, but it's dorky.  Very dorky.  This past fall, I bought myself an individuality bracelet.  I always wanted a charm bracelet, but never had one.  I'm glad I held out though.  These bracelets have many charms, but the majority consist of glass beads, which I love.  I decided that I was going to take my time in filling up my bracelet and buy beads only to represent certain aspects of myself, events, or memories.  My first bead, Purple Flower, was chosen to represent passion.  I wanted to remind myself that even though I have no idea where this life of mine is going to lead me,  I want to walk my path with passion.  Is it really worth doing something, something chosen, something by choice, if it's not done with passion?





Monday, March 19, 2012

Bliss

video

This piece had me in tears tonight and thus became my inspiration for tonight's posting.  Back in December, I shared another piano piece, "The Promise" and shared with you how hearing that music made me feel sadness, peace, and hope all at the same time.  

This piece, "Arrivals N2," composed by Dustin O'Halloran made me feel something entirely different.  When I hear this piece, it moves me to tears because it reminds me of happiness.  The piano reminds me of the sweetness, patience, and understanding that help to create true joy.  The background complements it with it's own lull of comfort.  I even find the tempo to be perfect in that it flows fluidly paralleling the way in which times of happiness moves, yet it slows briefly to remind us to stop and appreciate the happiness that stands before us.  This masterpiece is a true bliss.  



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Peter Lik

Last month when I was in Las Vegas, I visited a few galleries that featured photographers.  I was completely mesmerized and I fell in love.  Not only were these photos breathtaking, but the fact that these images actually exist is amazing.  

One of the galleries I visited was that of Peter Lik.  Here are a few of my favorites, although I have to say, these computer images don't do them justice.  But I hope you enjoy none the less.












It is these little inspirations like these photographs that remind me how beautiful life is and how I very much want to embrace it.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Team Edward

First off, I have to say that I am extremely proud of my son.  I think the world of him and I would do anything necessary to ensure that he is healthy, inlcuding happy.  At the same time though, I am not one of those parents who believes that their child is perfect (only in my eyes of course) and can do no wrong.  But, my son is a cute kid.  He's a happy kid.  And he apparently has this auroa that makes people smile when they see him.  I think he is beautiful because he is my son, but I have also tried to look at him as an outsider, and I have to agree, there is something about him that can put a smile on anyone's face.  Having said all that, let me share this funny story with you...

Tuesday was a gorgeous day here in New York City.  So when I came to pick my son up from day care, he was outside playing.  As I approached the door, I could see the little kids running around and one caught my attention and I said to myself, "Whoa, who is that kid?  He's hot for such a little guy."  A half a second later, I realized that he was my son, lol.  My son is blonde haired and blue-eyed.  His hair has a natural curl to it and because it was hot out, he was sweaty.  His hair curled and was messy, it made him look like Robert Pattinson, aka Edward (from Twilight).  Well, the hair and the fact that my son was also wearing a black pea coat and jeans that day.  He didn't look like a two and a half year old, he looked like... a little man!

But the story continues.  The following morning, I droppped him off at school.  As soon as we walked into the classroom, an adorable little girl from his class jumped up and started to shout out his name.  She ran up to my son and started to take his jacket off for him, lol.  Apparently she is on "Team Edward." 

My son is a sweetheart, but he is also a little flirt.  He has the strangest flirting tactics and I laugh at him and think he is a dork.  But, it works!  I know, I know, he's only two.  But he has his teacher, his babysitter, and other random women, like waitresses, all wrapped around his tiny little, baby finger.  The funny thing is, he knows it!  He pours the charm on!  Where he gets it, I have no idea.  I'm not like that and his father wasn't either, lol. 

I love having a little boy.  I'm sure that if I had a little girl, I would say the same about loving having a girl.  But, I don't.  So boy it is.  One of the things that I love best about having a son is the the pressure-filled responsibility of raising a man.  I want him to be a good man.  I want him to treat everyone fairly and equally and hold no prejudices against others.  But, I also want him to especially treat women the way we deserve to be treated.  I have some time, I know.  But the learning starts early.  He may be a heartthrob, but I will do my best to make sure that if he in fact ever has to break any hearts, it will be with kindess and dignity. 

Oh, boy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March

It's time to take a look at The Happiness Project focus for this month.  The month of March's focus is work, or "Aim Higher."  I've decided to share some of the goals that I have set for myself this month.  I have to admit, I have not had as must gusto as I had in January with this project, so I am hoping that posting my goals will be that quick kick in the butt that I need to keep me going strong.

So, Gretchen lays out this month with five topics and they are...

1.  Launch a Blog - We'll on one up on you there Gretchen.  I have this one going, but I also started a book club blog that just launched our first book of the month this March.  I have to admit, there have been some kinks and it is not going as smoothly as I imagined, but it is the first month, it is made up of friends, so I am hopeful that once we really get going, it will all work out.  So, my goal for this blog is to continue to post and to do so with great thought.  My goal for the book club blog is to have fun, share ideas, and read good books with my fellow bloggers and to smooth everything out for next month.

2.  Enjoy the Fun of Failure - Well, I don't want to fail at anything.  But I do know that you do learn from failures.  So should I happen to have to fail at something, actually, I prefer to say if something doesn't work out instead of fail, then I will try to take from that particular experience what I can so that I can learn from it and move on.  So that is my goal, to learn from my failures or mistakes.

3.  Ask for Help - Sometimes I find this hard to do at work.  I am the technology teacher and I am the only one at my school.  If I worked in an environment with other techies, this would be something that I would probably do on a daily to weekly basis since technology changes so much and because there is just an overwhelming amount of resources out there.  But I will be more open and aware of situations that I can seek out the help from others at work so that I can improve myself.

4.  Work Smart - This is something that I can do something about.  There are times when I can get easily distracted.  This is the time of year at school where I find that it takes me longer to plan, it takes me longer to accomplish other work related tasks as well.  I get them done, but I have to refocus myself.  I always thought that it was just this time of year, that time just before spring, when we have just gotten through the thickest part of the winter season.  Now that spring is just around the corner (yay and now the days are officially longer) I always seem to get out of this work funk.  But for now, I need to work hard to refocus so that I can work smarter and accomplish more.  

5.  Enjoy Now - I am proud to say that I am still taking each day one at a time and appreciating them one at a time.  Since work is part of my everyday, it is included.  This is a busy time of year for me, I have some big project at work that will be due soon and I am always relieved when I complete them.  I am going to focus this year of not just enjoying the accomplishment of finishing these projects, but the process of creating the projects.

I have a couple of my own personal work related goals that I would like to add one.  The first one is to take the teacher certification test for my field.  I am teaching under another license, which is completely fine.  However, I want to get my technology license.  It will allow me to have more options in case I ever decided to look for more options.  And that leads to the second...
I do want to look into other options.  I do not want to leave the field of education, but I do want to explore other options outside of the classroom where I can use my teaching skills, my technology skills,  and my love for writing.  I think my first step is to explore jobs.  Then decide if I am qualified, and if not, what I will need to do to become qualified.  

So, that's it for March.  It doesn't sound like much, but it's enough to keep me quite busy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

To Heaven and Back

Today I took my son to his first swim class.  He has never been afraid of water.  Whether it was the bathtub, a pool, or the ocean, he has always been fearless and has always loved the water.  So I had been wanting to take him to swim classes for quite some time and was really excited about today.  He had such a great time.  He splashed and laughed.  He's a natural... like his father.

Taking our son to swim class would have been something that my husband would have loved to do with him.  He was the swimmer, not me.  That is what I noticed in our class, in the class before ours, and in the class after ours... it was mainly the fathers in the water.  And if the mother was in the water, the father was sitting and watching.  I have come to accept that (for now) it is just my son and I.  I have learned to not let it get to me when I see families together or a father with his child.  Today was just a day where it was hard to not let my mind wander.

There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about my husband repeatedly throughout the day.  Like so many things, I have learned to think my thoughts, to feel my feelings, and to not let them  stop me from moving along within my day.  Today I did something though that I had been putting off...

When my husband passed away, I did not take pictures down or avoid talking about him, especially with my son.  As time passed, I did take down our wedding photos, I put our album in a safe place, and I rearranged some of the photos that were displayed around the apartment.  I made sure to have plenty of photos in my son's room of the two of them and the three of us.  Two of my favorite photos hang above my son's crib and every night we look at them and we say goodnight.  That was something that I did with him from the first night, we said goodnight.  I had intended on making up a little prayer to say, but that first night and the ones that were first to follow I found words hard to find.  So instead we said "Good night Daddy, we love you all the way to heaven and back," and that is what stuck.

My son was only 20 months old when his father died.  I do not know what his thoughts are, but I do believe that he does have them.  I believe they are based more on a feeling rather than an actual memory, but he does recognize his father in photos and more recently he has actually been saying his name randomly.  So today I thought was the day to do what I have somewhat avoided, we watched home videos.

My son sat on my lap and together we watched videos from when he was a tiny baby, his first encounter with grass, his first trip to the ocean, and his first birthday.  They were all such happy, wonderful times.  I am so thankful to have them and to share them with my son so that he will always know the love that his father had for him.  For me, it made him seem real again.  I could see him, I could hear him.  All I wanted to do was to reach into my computer and touch him again.  I do feel him now, but just in a different way.

I think that he is with both myself and with my son in so many ways.  In a spiritual sense yes, but also I can see him in things that my son does and enjoys.  I can see him in my son's facial expressions.  I can see him in the way my son speaks and acts.  I can also see him in the things that I do and enjoy.  I recognize him in some of my thoughts and actions.  He was a part of both of our lives and we have been deeply touched by him in a way that will never go away.

"To heaven and back..."  When I first chose those words, I did so to measure the amount of love we have for him.  However, as I write this, I have been enlightened.  If I feel that he is here with us, then maybe each night, we are all saying these words together.  My son and I to tell him how much we love him and he is telling us that he made it to heaven but is still back with us.  <3







Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home

I know that it's March 1st and that I should be starting a new month for The Happiness Project, but I'm still on the feeling right topic from February.  I've addressed feeling right with your job and with your significant other in my last few postings.  Today, I want to focus on location, location, location.  This particular focus strikes a chord with me because I have moved so many times and I have not felt like I've been "home" since...???

I left my parents' home when I was 18 to go away to college in Rochester, NY, which was only 2 hours away.  I returned home every summer up until the summer before my senior year when I moved in with some girlfriends.  I have been "on my own" ever since.

After I graduated from college, I moved in with my late husband who happened to be my fiance at the time.  We had met at college and we lived in Rochester for two years before moving to Virginia.  I really loved Rochester and after we were married, we actually started to look at houses.  However, I was laid-off two years in a row as a teacher and that along with our desire to explore made the decision to move a rather easy one.  Why Virginia?  No reason other then the fact that when I Googled teaching jobs it came up.  I found a city on the ocean near Virginia Beach and got a job right away.

That first year in Virginia was brutal.  I hated it.  I felt so far away from family and friends.  My class was awful.  All I wanted to do was move back to Rochester.  Compared to Virginia, Rochester did feel more like home.  However, I knew that I wouldn't find a teaching job back in Rochester.  My husband convinced me to stay in Virginia and I convinced him that we should buy a house (as an investment).  And we did.  We lived in Virginia for a total of four years.  It never got better for me.  I never felt at home there and I had applied back up in New York every single year.  Each year I expanded my job search.  First it was just Rochester.  Then it was Rochester and Buffalo.  Finally, we realized that western NY was not in the cards for us.  We thought New York City would be an exciting place to live (for awhile) until we could decide where it was we really wanted to settle down.  So, I applied to the New York City Public Schools and I have been here for nearly 5 years now.  

So let me summarize the past 10 years... I have lived in two states, New York to Virginia back up to New York.  I have lived in four different cities and five different apartments/houses.  I have even worked in 4 different schools including 4 different school districts.  Each time we, I moved, it was with the intentions of being temporary so I never settled in anywhere.  Living in New York City for 5 years and working in the same school for the past 5 years is the longest I have stayed in one place my entire adult life.  However, I am not sure if this is home.

It was our intention to raise our son outside of New York City.  We had wanted to own our own home again.  We wanted a yard for our son and for our dogs.  We wanted a smaller, quaint community to settle down in.  Where this particular place was, we didn't know and I'll never know.  Now, the decision on where to raise my son is entirely up to me.  I have the freedom to moved anywhere, and I mean anywhere I desire.  In many ways, that freedom is exhilarating, but at the same time, it is really overwhelming.  I don't know, I just don't know.

I really love New York City.  I love the energy, the diversity, the variety of experiences (museums, parks, theatre, etc.) that it provides.  However, when I think about those things, they are not necessarily day to day living aspects.  When I think about those, I think about the okay apartment I live in.  The one that has no yard and no laundry facilities.  It's one where I pay an enormous amount in rent each month and that's for it's location.  I have on-street parking.  Driving itself in the city is bad, but finding parking is even worse.  For now, it's okay.  But do I want to live this way for the rest of my life?  No.  I want more.  However, to get more or even to get a house (unless I remarry an incredibly rich man) I would have to move out further from the city.  To me, that defeats the purpose of living here.  I like being in the center of Brooklyn.  It's close to some of the best offerings of Brooklyn and it's close to Manhattan, which I love.  I do not want to live in the outskirts of Brooklyn, Queens, or The Bronx and I have no desire to live anywhere on the island of Staten Island (or Long Island for that matter).  I have no idea where I want to live.  But I do know that I very much desire the feeling of being settled somewhere and to call one place home and really feel it.

Here is (somewhat of) my dilemma... I am in the beginning stages of dating.  I am obviously looking to date men nearby which means that they are all in the New York City area.  That may potentially keep me grounded here.  Is that what's right for me?  OR (Since I am in no rush to date or remarry) Do I explore different areas and decide what place is right for me and then date and hope to find someone there?  OR do I just open up the gates of dating and date anyone from anywhere since I am part gypsy (lol) and would be willing to move?

Since my husband and I were never able to find the right place, a place where we both wanted to settle down and call home, I adopted the quote, "Home is where your heart is."  And that helped.  Life is very dynamic isn't it?  Adding location to career and person as far as living the life that is right for you just adds another layer.  However, I guess if you have all three that would lead to one feeling quite whole, content and happy.  :)