“All the wonders you seek are within yourself.” ~Sir Thomas Browne
I have always been the independent type. I started buying my own clothes when I was 12 with money I made from babysitting gigs. I got my first “real” job the summer I was 16. I went to live with my mother’s cousins (whom I’d only met a few times) in Boston and worked in a bakery. That was a great summer. I got to explore Boston and learned how to ride the subway.
In college I spent my summers having grand adventures and saving up my money for school. I went to the Jersey Shore, Alaska, and Buzzard’s Bay, worked waitressing jobs and met lots of interesting people.
My parents were very supportive and loving when I was young. It wasn’t that I had to live away from home. I just had the adventure bug and a deep seated feeling that I needed to be independent and make my own money and way in the world.
Underneath all that exploring was a rock solid knowledge that my mother was always there for me. I knew if I needed her she would be there.
She told me repeatedly I was always welcome to come home. I may not have taken her up on her offer, but in my heart I knew that my mom was my safe place; the place I called home.
When I got married, my husband was in the Navy and we moved a lot. I lived for three years in Japan. I had children, and we’d visit my mom and she’d visit us. Still, I knew if I needed her she was there.
She was still my rock solid home because I hadn’t established a true home base with my own little family. We lived far away from each other but I knew she was always within reach.
I knew if my husband went to sea I could go to my mom’s. If our relationship didn’t work out my mom would take me and the kids in. I was able to be independent and explore the world because I knew where my home base would always be.
My mom died in 2011 and suddenly the place I called home didn’t exist anymore. I had no base, no safe place, and no rock solid security. I was flying over an ocean with no land in sight.
I have struggled to find balance. My adventurous spirit was founded on an inner security which stemmed from my close bond with my mother. Without her there as a backup, how could I feel secure? What if my husband left me? Where would I go? What if I lost my job and my home? Where would I go?
She was always where I would go and the first person I would call or turn to for help.
Many adventurers enjoy not being tied down. They do not want a home base so they can just pick up and go wherever and whenever they want.
I had the best of both worlds because my home was with a person so I could wander and explore and come back to her whenever I wanted. I could even touch base via phone and feel grounded and secure.
We all long for security in some form or another. Maybe we save up money in our savings accounts, or maybe we marry someone who makes us feel safe. As humans we long for connections, for a feeling of belonging, or that complete knowing that we are accepted and surrounded by love.
I, like many others, thought that my security came from someone else. What I couldn’t understand was that I already had everything I needed to be safe and secure inside. We all do.
I haven’t figured it all out yet. I still grieve for my mother and feel lost at sea at times. While learning to live with the instability, I have come to see that my mother was my safety net but I have been my own home base all along.
Having her encouragement gave me the courage to go out on my own, but I was the one actually going and I can ground myself and be my own place of comfort.
It is like when my sister and I were young. I was ten and she was fourteen. She was trying to learn how to do an aerial (no handed) cartwheel in her gymnastics class.
She would have me come out to the front yard and “spot” her. I would stand sideways with my arms out, ready to catch her if she fell. I was only ten with scrawny little arms and no clue how to catch her.
She never fell. She did not really need me. The fact that I was there made her feel safe and gave her the courage to fling herself into the air. She could do it all on her own. She did not need my support. She just liked knowing I was there.
I have been on my own for a long time. I can take care of myself. I am my own home base. I did not need my mom. I just liked having her there.
There is a saying, “no man is an island,” meaning that we all need others. We cannot stand all alone.
While it is true that we are social beings and we need others to survive, we all are own safe places. We do not need to depend on others. We can stand on our own two feet and establish our own home bases. We can make it alone; we just like having loved ones with us.
Photo by Jaine