I grew up in Northeast Ohio — first in Fairview Park and then in Lakewood — but spent ages 22 to 37 living all across the United States. First it was California, which was OK. The weather and scenery were incredible, but the feeling of just not belonging never went away. Then there was a move to Las Vegas to work on the newspaper there. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I felt super at home there. I loved the desert, from the three-digit summer temperatures to the stunning scenery of Red Rock Canyon. Trips to Utah and the eastern edge of California just strengthened my love of that area of the United States.

Newspaper jobs took me on other adventures in Georgia and Maryland, and back to Georgia. Finally, I landed back in my hometown for an opportunity to work at my hometown newspaper, The Plain Dealer. That journalism journey continued after I left the PD and assumed the editorship of West Life, where my goal is to provide quality community news.

I’ve always had wanderlust. It was only the arrival of children that made me emotionally realize I had to stay put, at least for a little while. So we stayed in Northeast Ohio. Re-established roots. I reconnected with childhood and high school friends. Joined the PTA. Quit the PTA (don’t ask.).

Before I knew it, the children were grown, forging adult paths. My husband and I started dreaming again about where we’d love to live:. St. Augustine, Florida; Williamsburg, Virginia; Orlando, Florida; Auburn, Ala. (wait … that was my husband’s, not my, dream); and in recent years, London, England.

Funny thing happened. We suddenly realized we live exactly where we are meant to stay. Northeast Ohio is where the people we know and love live. Where in November we can drive to Rocky River Park and sit on a bench, with a blanket wrapped around both of us as we marvel at an angry Lake Erie. Where in the fall, we can walk the dogs along the paths of the slowly transforming metroparks, with vibrantly blue skies framing the golden and burnished leaves.

I thought about how much I love my home last week as I walked the dog early one morning. The air was chilly, the sky a startling shade of blue. The puffy white clouds of September (they are so distinctive!) marching in formation across the skyline.

“I love it here.” I said that out loud and I meant it.

Does that mean I never want to see new places or be a complete history nerd and explore historic spots? Obviously not. But I’ve stopped dreaming of moving there. My only thought is that some day, we might want to rent a place out West or in Florida for the months of January through April. I’m not fond of our gray skies.

But isn’t it nice to feel content, to feel like you belong?

I think so.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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