I've always wanted to live in a house with a blue front door, and through some major serendipity, I actually do.

Growing up, we moved around a lot, mainly because we didn't have much money. We'd usually stay just long enough to find somewhere cheaper, and then we'd pack up and move again. I've moved somewhere around seventeen times in my twenty-three years of life; compare this to my friend who is twenty-four and has lived in just three houses his whole life. I don't have a childhood home; I have a series of houses that I grew up in.

Not to say that things were bad. I was the lucky kind of poor: the kind that lived paycheck to paycheck, which meant doing without most of what I wanted, but never what I needed. I didn't have a nice car (or even a nice house, most of the time) but I never went hungry either. My brother got to play sports even though money was tight, and I always had a book to read. More than anything, there was an abundance of love in my house--the constant refrain of "I love you" echoed off the walls of each and every house I lived in.

Yet my heart still ached for a house with a blue front door, because that symbolized permanence, the one thing that was really missing in my life. We've always been renters, which means boring white front doors and walls the color of pea soup and, in one house, a clown border and black closets. We didn't get to leave pieces of ourselves behind. It was always a house and never a home. 

Have you ever realized how temporary life can feel? Everything is just a stage; eventually, you'll move on and find something else. I was only at TU for four years; I'll only be a graduate student for two; I won't be an athletic trainer forever. This version of myself is not permanent. I will age and grow and, one day, look back on myself at twenty-three and wonder how I could be so radically different. Nothing ever stays the same, even houses with blue front doors.

My house--that I rent because I'm twenty-three and in a transition phase--has a navy blue front door. I kind of want to cry every time I walk through it, because it feels like home. Even though it isn't permanent, it feels like it is. My roommate and I made a gallery wall at 9 pm shortly after moving in because we were bored. The dogs have already scratched the laminate. We have shower curtains hung over our glass back door because we can't agree on curtain patterns. There are little touches of the four of us throughout the house, and I settle into my skin a little better every time I come home from work. I've found a house that won't be mine forever, but feels like I will. It's a house that I can imagine living in forever.

There's a wealth of love in this house, too, that mirrors all of my childhood homes. We aren't constantly shouting "I love you" as we rush out the door, but we take care of each other. We're a family of our own that exists outside of our actual families. We're the family that lives in Whispering Creek, in the house with the blue front door. We're the ones always moving cars around for each other; the ones with the two dogs that bark at anyone they think is too close to our house; the ones who are always going somewhere together. And even though we won't always live together, and even though I'll probably be the first one to move out, it feels like we'll be together forever. In a way, we will be. This house will always be ours, even if we're just borrowing it.

I still want something permanent. I want to move into a house that is mine and stay there forever. I want to fill it with love and laughter. I want to paint the front door navy blue, or maroon, or maybe even dark purple. I want a garden and a white picket fence and a magnolia tree in the front yard. I want to take all of my favorite parts of my temporary homes and put them into my forever home. But more than anything, I want to keep release a sigh of relief every time I walk in the door, like my soul just knows that I'm finally where I belong.

Published by Kylee Jackson