Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Home: What It Means
As I think I mentioned in a previous blog post from a ways back, before settling in my current apartment nearly four years ago, I had moved 14 times in 17 years.
No typos or exaggeration there.
Some of the moves were from coast to coast, or region to region. Others were in state due to a variety of reasons, from a separation during my marriage in the Northeast to mold in my home in the Southeast. About halfway through that time period, I started to wonder what the heck was going on. My brain went on overdrive asking all sorts of questions, like What's wrong with me? Why can't I just settle down? Will I ever find a place where I can just be happy?
It was through wrangling with those questions, and really getting to know myself well as the birthdays began to tick along through the 30s, that I started to accept the clear fact that I am a natural nomad. If I stay in one place for too long -- say a couple of years -- I get restless and want to move on, no matter how much I might enjoy that place or how much of a sense of community has been established.
The nomadic part of me was rather a surprise, once acknowledged, because my family had not been that way. I spent half my growing up years in one house and the other half in another, and my parents kept the latter for a dozen years or so after I graduated college. That house was always what I referred to as "home." But my own home as an adult was much more elusive. I came to realize how much truth is reflected in the phrase "Home is where the heart is." My version of that became "Home is wherever I am with my four-legged kids."
Now I know that home exists inside myself. External environment is certainly very important; I need a peaceful, quiet place to just be when I am inside four walls, and a four-legged companion is also necessary. But no four walls constitute home anymore. I am looking forward to acquiring a lovely house on wheels that will enable the munchkin and I to enjoy a good number of creature comforts as we explore new places, spend time with those we love and forge new relationships. And hopefully do a lot of picture taking and writing along the way.
What does home mean to you?