The 5-month itch: A time to reflect and freak out

The word itch in any context always has a negative connotation to it: “the itch you can’t scratch,” “Doctor, I have this itch,” and the dreaded relationship one—“the 7-month itch.” None of them leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. My 5-month itch was no exception.

Truth be told I’ve been in a funk since my family visited a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t just their visit, but a myriad of other things that put me in such a state. Homesickness was just a small factor. My sister has been having a lot of health issues lately, and as her older sister I feel like it’s my job to protect her from these things. How? I don’t know, but somehow I felt that if I was home I would know. Since I’m neither there or a doctor, I was feeling pretty powerless.

My sister and I with our fur babies – 2007

In addition to family issues I’ve also been worried about my other relationships. The details are not important—basically it was just my mind working itself into a lather. On top of all that it dawned on me that I’ve been in Maine for almost 5 months now. I’ve settled into my routine, and while my weekends look a lot different than they used to, my weekdays look pretty similar. Things that were shiny and new when I first got here have started to lose their luster.

I still think it’s awesome that I live on the coast, that I pass the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow monument every morning, and that I can get a lobster roll anytime I want—but I’ve gotten used to these things. They’ve become the norm. I was worried that I was already sick of Maine—that this was a 5-month itch.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tulips and Longfellow

So I did what has become my tradition here in Maine when I need to work through something—I went to a lighthouse. It was my first visit to the Doubling Point Lighthouse and as soon as I drove up, I knew I had found one of my new favorites. Since it’s one of the lesser-known lighthouses I had the whole place to myself, and I reveled in it. I spent over an hour there working through these feelings.

I realized that I am always going to miss my family. That just comes with the territory. The flip side is that this places really does feed my soul. I’ve never felt such a connection to a place as I do to Maine. It makes me come alive in a way I never knew I was capable of.

Doubling Point Lighthouse

I also had to remind myself to live in the moment. Often times I’m feeling guilty for the past or wanting to skip ahead to the future when I should be reveling in this awesome life I’ve created for myself now. It’s pretty amazing that I moved here all on my own, and made this all work! I may never get an opportunity like this again so I need to live this Maine adventure to the fullest.

As for the itch I think it was more of a pull. I think when you live far away from your loved ones you will always feel the pull to be with them. No situation is going to be 100% ideal. You just have to follow your gut, and do what you feel is best for you.

Is it hard for you to be away from your loved ones? How do you cope with the distance?



  1. It takes a good two years to fully adjust to a place–new experiences and letting go, developing ties, finding new people to laugh and cry with, building a role in your new community. Plus, you still have the same twenty-something pains that you would have anywhere. It’s a lot of adjusting. Yay for lighthouses!

  2. Doubling Point is a great spot, haven’t been there in quite a while though. I certainly understand your feelings of concern and questioning. There was a good bit of that during the first six months. Was being here worth the sacrifice? I found a bench along the Eastern Prom Trail I would walk to during that first year when we lived right there, when I wanted to think. It was behind some trees up on the rocks so you can watch Casco Bay. I spent a good bit of time there during the early months and every now and then will go back there. But thankfully as time passed, the more I appreciated where I lived and haven’t truly tired of it. Everything you loved about being in Chicago, family, familiarity or places, you’ll find that here. The routine things will become cherished like your routine in Chicago. And if you ever leave Maine, you’ll miss those things like what you miss back home. When we go to Philly to visit family, I now found myself getting homesick for Maine. That’s part of how i know that we’re supposed to be here.

    • Beautifully put, Joe.

      I think I know the spot you’re speaking of along the Eastern Promenade trail. If it’s the same bench I’m thinking of, it’s one of my favorite spots, too! I’m glad it got easier for you over time, and I’m glad you found the right place to call home. 🙂

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