Concrete Timelines & Why I Don’t Need Them

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“When are you coming home?”

My favorite question, hurled at me with only the best intentions, no less than 4 times a day every time I visit my hometown. The people who ask this question are not doing it to question my motives, or insult the lifestyle I’ve chosen. It’s often accompanied with a mystified look or purely confused inflection in their tone.

The question for me comes with expectations garnered from years of tradition. You can take a vacation, sure. Study abroad for a semester, maybe. Are you moving for a job, or a partner? All acceptable but not encouraged.

But to live in a world with no solidified timelines? It’s a concept completely foreign in all senses of the word. The expectation that your return “home” is imminent, and the idea that you may have formed a new kind of home somewhere else will flip minds, tables, people –  all over the place.

To be settled and have a partner, and your dream job, and the mortgage – these are all accomplishments not to be belittled. However, we have to start assigning this same amount of pride and achievement to those who don’t have their timelines set in stone. I could move back in 6 months, or it could be 6 years. But until then, this is home. These people are home, this sunset and these completely different constellations mark where I feel like I belong.

To answer your question, “I don’t know when I’m coming back.” But I also won’t feel guilty about not having a timeline.

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One Comment on “Concrete Timelines & Why I Don’t Need Them

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