Nowhere is perfect

“It seems there are so many of us who want to just pack up and go,” a friend told me recently. I just told her that I’d be leaving Metro Manila soon, after being here for decades. This upcoming move is not going to be easy because I’m not used to living away from my literal comfort zone, which is Quezon City. Aside from that, moving is always difficult.

I know because this is going to be my 11th move. My first home was my father’s family home in Quezon City. When I had an altercation with an uncle, I moved to a studio space nearby, but I stayed there for just a few weeks then moved back to the family house. My first major move was to a two-bedroom apartment on Scout Delgado, still in Quezon City. And then it was Los Baños, Laguna for a year after that. I loved living in LB because of the ancient trees and the forest. The house was located at the foot of Mt. Makiling, inside the UPLB campus.

From Los Baños, I moved to a nice studio apartment on Madasalin St. in Quezon City. Some years later, I found a house in Heroes Hill. It was medium-sized and well-maintained but the energy was unpleasant—I had the most challenging years of my life there.

Thankfully, I found our current home right after a while. We’ve been here for more than seven years and while it’s small and imperfect, it’s a relatively peaceful space and I love the fact that I call the shots here. I don’t own this place but I am at my most independent here, which is what we’re all looking for, I suppose. It’s having the freedom to do the things we want that is most important.

But the time has come to move once again mainly because I’m missing the green spaces, the fresh air, and the legroom. And so I am temporarily saying goodbye to the convenient lifestyle I managed to build here in exchange for some breathing space.

But nowhere is perfect, I know that. We keep looking for our small plot of heaven here on earth and keep hoping that the next home we rent, or the next property we buy will be it. And yet it never happens because something is always amiss.

You think that if you could just buy a nice house in a nice community, then your life would be almost perfect. Truth is, it doesn’t always work that way. I remember reading somewhere: Happiness is not an external thing to be found; it is an inside job. Something like that. Or, some version of “Home is where the heart is.” Cliché, yes, but obviously accurate.