Where Did You Grow Up?

Through my relatively short life, I’ve moved around a lot. That’s kind of been my defining factor and the way I explain myself to people. I haven’t lived anywhere for more than five years and that only happened because I attended university (and had to stay an extra six months to make up for a missing credit I somehow forgot about). But this idea of not having any one home or at least roots in once place plays on my mind a lot. My parents have now been in one place for over ten years which is a first for them as well, but it still doesn’t feel like home. Or at least in any abstract, poetic sense.

In hindsight, I often feel I’ve been extremely privileged to have lived this not-so-common nomadic life (I mean I’m no diplomat’s daughter but you know what I mean) because it’s made me exactly who I am today. It’s given me the ability to change and adapt but also made me almost too chameleon-esque. Taking on the qualities and attributes of whoever I’m with and wherever I am. Not to say each of us don’t have a very particular sense of self and personality but it’s much easier for me to connect with people across a broad spectrum than I think it would have been had I been surrounded by very similar people through my life. It’s made me tolerant and open-minded whether in regards to someone leaving my life, or the monsoons in Mumbai (that’s still one I’m working on).

I don’t fear change. I don’t fear the fact that I may have to uproot my life at any given moment and start something completely new, maybe because this was the only constant I really had growing up. When I was in university, which is a more or less four year affair, I still continue to subscribe to a monthly phone plan rather than something more economical and long-term simply because that’s not something I know how to do. I don’t know what a five-year life plan looks like and I definitely don’t set goals because who knows what in the world could happen?

I do feel like I missed out on a lot as well. I missed out on birthday parties at home with friends who I would later describe as saying “we’ve been at each other’s birthday since kindergarten”. I would lose out on aunties and uncles and neighbours who have seen you grow up and remember what you used to look like when you were only knee high. I have missed out on going to school with the same group who I would fight with, make up with and eventually take holidays with in our 20s. I do miss not having roots in one place, not feeling completely myself in any one place because each city or country brings out another memory and another side of you.

It’s weird when you move around because you lose friends and sometimes you cling on to friends who you were very close with, but are not anymore, mainly because they gave you stability at one time in your life. This thought was actually what made me write this piece. People change and not being around to see that, doesn’t always make it easy to continue being what you once thought you were to each other.

I am extremely grateful for what I’ve done and seen and don’t think I would trade it for anything in the world. It’s made me who I am, as ubiquitous as that may be and I guess that’s something you can never escape.