Keeping up with my monthly series in 2020 as a slow farewell to AoS, today I’m sharing another letter to myself in 2010, ten years ago. Each letter focuses on one of the different categories we write about here: relationships, community, work, travel, self-care, and in the case of this month’s installment, home.

Though these are to myself, my hope is that you find a smidge of truth, beauty, and goodness you can apply to your own life — and perhaps this exercise will inspire you to write your own letters to yourself, ten years younger.

Dear Me in 2010,

Let’s get right to the obvious… Never in a million years would I get that ten years from now, there would be a global pandemic and we’d be ordered to social distance by way of self-quarantining in our homes. No one saw this coming.

Because of how much I’ve been inside these same four walls for weeks now, it’s caused me to focus on what stories they already tell. We’ve lived here a little over three years, the longest we’ve lived anywhere as a family. You just left the home that previously held that record — our Turkish high-rise, where we lived for three years. A decade later, I still miss it.

izmir turkey apartment
walking home to our apartment in Turkey, 2008

I miss living with a view of the Aegean Sea. I miss its location, being able to pop across the street for bread or eggs. I miss sitting out on our breezy balcony for breakfast, for evening dates with dessert from the local bakery. I miss line-drying our laundry on that balcony, fully dried in 20 minutes because of the sea breeze. I miss all our appliances, still the best we’ve ever had. Heck, I even miss hearing late-night Turkish renditions of Happy Birthday and wedding receptions just outside our bedroom window, blasting until three in the morning.

Hindsight, rose-colored glasses, and all that.

This is helpful to remember in this time, as we live in a 1935 fixer-upper, where we’ve lived for over three years and it’s still not fully fixed-up. It’s small, and while I’m grateful each kid has their own bedroom (a serious treat), we’re still in each other’s business all the time. This is true right now, more than ever, as we’re quarantined together.

Poppies are in full-bloom in the backyard right now, a remnant of a World War I soldier from this area who brought back his mother poppy seeds from Flanders’ field. The annual Poppy Fest may have been canceled this year, but the seasons don’t stop for a plague, and these vibrant smudges of red peppering our hodge-podge, still-not-done backyard remind me some things don’t change even when everything else does.

The idea of home doesn’t change, even when our homes change. When they’re less than ideal (when are they ever perfect?), when they’re temporary, when they’re too small or too big, when they’re not where we wish they were geographically… home is still a sacred space where we are known and we know. It’s still our deepest longing. I learned that when we left ours for a school year and vagabonded without one. (Get ready for that, because it’s a trip.)

Home is still the people who dwell here, whether that’s in Turkey or a small town in Texas. Home still matters, and it’s still beautiful, even in its tattered imperfection, where everywhere you look is a reminder of your ongoing to-do list, what still needs doing to turn this ramshackle 1935 cottage into a thing of beauty. We’ll get there. It just takes a long time.

Right now, in this weird season of quarantine, I’m grateful for this roof over our heads. Not everyone enjoys this privilege right now.


You in 2020

p.s. Previous entries: January, February.