Please note: I was gifted a free Mapiful print in exchange for an Instagram post. This blog is inspired by that transaction.
All roads lead to home.
For a long time, I’ve wanted a piece of Mapiful artwork. It took a while, though, to decide where to pin our location.
Chad and I grew up in the same town, and most of our lives we’ve called that place our home. Gunnison, the small mountain town on Colorado’s western slope, carries a large piece of our history; we walked the same school halls, played on the same baseball fields, drove the same mountain roads. In terms of our relationship, that’s where it was born: we held hands in the hallway at Gunnison High School, Chad met my parents for the first time at my house on Crocus Road, we drove to Blue Mesa Reservoir on the Fourth of July.
Truth be told, though, we haven’t lived there in years. We don’t have plans to return, at least not on a permanent basis. While we’ll always love our small-town roots and Gunnison past, it always feels like a place that wasn’t really our own.
That’s just part of a teenage romance and the underbelly of a high school sweetheart label: you’re very much a teen, asking permission to go and do things, following rules, scrounging up pocket change, and spending a lot of time dreaming about the next chapter.
The next choice on our list of home-worthy options is the Denver area. College was a super important stage of our lives for figuring out who we were, both as individuals and as a couple. We grew up and transitioned from high school sweethearts into something more sustainable. When I think of the city, I remember budgeting and dreaming, heated arguments and compromise, unbearably long weekday schedules and sweet weekend reunions, excess drinking with friends and late-night shopping at the 24-hour grocery store.
As much as I love Denver and how it helped us to grow, evolve, and decide who we wanted to be, it’s not home base. Though impactful, it was temporary. An important stop on a journey that keeps moving forward.
After getting engaged, graduating, and landing jobs, life took us to New Castle, Colorado. It’s been the most permanent of our physical locations, but it’s also been much more than that.
Though we sometimes still feel like kids playing dress up and pretending to know how to be adults, Chad and I have truly evolved in this town; we still are. We’ve grown and continue to change. From our earliest days in our townhouse to now, there have been many trials, successes, and growing pains.
Since living here, we’ve saved and sacrificed, lost friends and made a few along the way, felt hurt and alone and also loved and celebrated, and, perhaps the most exciting, we changed our status to “married,” a legal contract that has benefited both our taxes and our connection.
After living in New Castle for three years, we officially laid down roots. We bought a home. We brought home a puppy. I started a business from my bedroom. We go for neighborhood hikes and sit in our yard and dream and plan and thank the universe that we ended up here. This is home, and it’s clear to me now.
(Thank you to @Mapiful for sending me this print.)