Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home Mississippi

Why am I here? Am I doing what I was put here for? Should I be living somewhere else, living a different life? It's not that I'm unhappy. I consider myself a really happy person. I just don't always know if I'm living life to the fullest.

For the last 5 years, Crystel and I have been living in Memphis. While Memphis isn't the biggest city, it's a far cry from my hometown of Booneville, MS, population approximately 10,000. I've been exposed to a lot of things in the past 5 years that I would have never dreamed of growing up. Memphis has been, and continues to be good to me. For that matter, the South has been good to me.

In my many travels all over the world, my constantly questioning nature leads me into thoughts of living elsewhere. Los Angeles was my most recent obsession, but Nashville, Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Austin and many other destinations, both foreign and domestic have all been in play in the past 5 years. The funny thing is, I'm always drawn to Mississippi. It's not the most exciting place, and it can sometimes limit opportunities, but it's always been home.
Early in my career, I worked for the public accounting firm Deloitte. One of my clients was Viking Range, the high-end appliance company based in Greenwood, MS. I would routinely spend 4-6 consecutive weeks at a time traveling to Mississippi to work. Driving down on Monday morning always had a therapeutic effect that I don't get in the city. I found myself reading Mississippi magazines and feeling a strong urge to move back to my home state. I always missed Crystel when I was gone, but I loved being in Mississippi.

After I left Deloitte, I stopped traveling to Mississippi as often (though I did still travel periodically to Fulton, MS to my company's plant...feeling that same pull then as well). I slowly became more removed from my home state. We moved further into Memphis (we previously lived in the suburbs of Shelby Country), got more caught up in young married life with a new (old) house, a new dog and our cat. Crystel took a non-profit job that immersed her more in the Memphis life and we traveled more together.

Speaking of the dog and cat...

All along, we both dearly loved our family, but we couldn't seem find a spare moment to spend quality time with them. A lot of other factors have been at play, but I feel like we missed out on a lot of time with family and friends while living just a short drive up the road. Recent developments have made it a little easier to see our loved ones. My mother-in-law, Julie, moved to Oxford, MS, and that's been a tremendous help. Before, she was always bouncing around between Booneville, Oxford, Memphis and her late mother's house in Cerritos, CA.

This past weekend, we went down to help Julie settle in. The weekend before, we spent one night in my hometown and got to visit Oxford on the way back to Memphis. All of this time in Mississippi has made me realize how much I miss home. I don't mean that I miss home in the sense of needing to move back. I just want to spend more time at home, more time with our family. Mississippi is home. From Booneville to Tupelo to Oxford and all points in between and everywhere else I've been in Mississippi, it feels like home. It's where our families are, it's where most of my best friends are, it's where I grew up and it's always going to be home to me. It's what made me who I am. I don't have to live there for it to be home.

I thought I'd write a few blog posts about our travels home. The posts will be chronological to document the past two weekends, with future posts likely to follow as we continue helping my mother-in-law move into her new house, restoring the Beetle (more on that later...before picture below) and visiting our families for the upcoming holiday season.

One more thing I confirmed last weekend: Oxford, MS is my favorite place on earth. Nothing can compare to it.

So, where is home for you? Do you have that certain place that always immediately feels like home no matter how long you've been gone?


  1. I guess this means you're not moving to Iowa any time soon. :( A friend of ours from Ocean Springs calls Mississippi "God's country." I'm not from there, but I feel you on the open Mississippi roads. I spent enough time driving between Memphis and Oxford to feel that home-like feeling. Nothing quite compares to Hwy 7 on a warm summer night with the windows down.

  2. The only thing better than that is driving those roads on a cool fall afternoon. Yeah, Iowa isn't in the cards right now, but ask me in a few months. Who knows where our hearts will be then.