Everyone has a favorite place: either somewhere they desire to be, somewhere they have never seen, or somewhere that they escape to, in reality or in their mind. One of the most cliched stress-relievers in the book is to “go to your happy place,” for goodness sake. For some, that vision of a proverbial beach destination, complete with a rum and coke in each hand, or the top of that hypothetical mountain is merely a figment of imagination; for others, it is a tangible location that they have been or wish to travel to at some point in their lifetime.
Like others, I have my hypothetical mountain. I often picture a cabin in the mountains where I will not be bothered by the materialistic and conflictual concerns of our society. I also have those destinations that I have never been, but have a strong inclination to visit someday: New Delhi, India, for one, is one of the most fascinating places on Earth in my mind, and I would love to experience the culture and see the beauty, and what is no longer beautiful, in this long-lasting metropolis. London, England is another location I have always longed to see, and I largely hope to move there for a short time following my graduation from OU. I could mentally escape to any of these places, and I could imagine all I like how the experience would be, however for those parts of the world in which I have never ventured, I simply do not feel it appropriate to label them my “favorite place.” I do not think that there is anything wrong with others having a hypothetical favorite place that they have never been to in reality, but for myself, it feels almost counterproductive. I want my favorite place to be somewhere that I enjoy being, that I can feel safe and find solace, and that brings me peace and joy to think about. How can I enjoy a place to which I have never been? I wouldn’t call haggis my favorite food because I have never tried it. Consider the possibility of me traveling to my “favorite place,” a place that I have never been, such as India, and having an absolutely miserable experience. I feel it much more appropriate to find a favorite place that I have physically been present in before.
Unfortunately, my travel experience is pretty limited, and I have never been out of the country. I have been to approximately six of the fifty states. I could always think of someplace from my past, somewhere with a lot of sentiment. Well if this were the case, my favorite place(s) would be the On the Borders I worked at in Texas; however I would not go there to seek solace now because some of the experiences I had there carry a lot of weight for me. I am an over-thinker and a worrier to boot, so if I can control my physical exposure to my past, I will try to limit it. I could look towards the future, but again, how can I truly, without a doubt, love a place I have never been? I suppose my goal here is to live in the present, which I am terrible at; however, 2017 is a new year and it is a new semester, so why not start here? Now, I am not going to love every place I am in at a present moment because some places will bring me pain, and some places flat out suck. In the relative present of my life, nevertheless, I do have a location that I can escape to, and conditions that I love it to be in.
My house here in Norman, Oklahoma, in which I have lived for a year and will only live in another, is a beautiful blip in what I will look back at as my life. I love going home to Texas to see my family, but I never enjoyed being in the house that my family lives in, given its condition and some of the memories it bears. My house here in Norman is my home. When I have escaped the stress of the theatre and the expectations of my department, when I have had a miserable day at work, or when there are people causing me pain, my house is there with spells for walls, keeping the secrets I whisper to myself and my roommates, trapping tears and providing joy for all who come through the threshold that is my front door. I can sit at my dining room table and work for hours, looking out the sliding glass door into my big back yard that provides shelter for the creatures that run along my back porch, and come up to the glass door when they don’t know I am watching from a feet away inside. I consider it a blessing to be able to unlock my door and walk into my home each evening. I take pride in keeping it clean and welcoming, and have had so many laughs and screams of joy within its confines. Others always find my home to be charming, and I like to think that it has a good spirit.
Yes, there will probably come a time when I will fly to England or India, or rent a cabin in the mountains, or find a coffee shop where I will meet my husband, or a job where I cry when I finally leave it and my coworkers cry with me. For now, though, I am a struggling college student barely making ends meet, having an existential crisis daily and trying to function with illusion of grace and maturity, when in reality there are times that I have sat on my living room floor screaming at my roommates about what I should text a stupid boy, “just let me be an adult!” (Thankfully, my house kept that in too.) So for now, I am content with calling my small three-bedroom, one bath house my favorite place. It is my escape from hardship, and my fortress when I must battle through the pains and struggles of being at the cusp of beginning my adult life. It is my home, and my home is my heart. I am not the fondest, in all reality, of Norman, Oklahoma; but my little house is my bubble, and when I am there, I am not in Oklahoma: I am in my own mind and my own universe, and I can control who and what is allowed to be there with me.