What is the definition of home? Is it a house ? Is it a specific person or people? Is it a town? Or is it simply a state of mind?
In my younger years home was an extremely static place, it did not move out of a 10 mile radius. It was my house with my parents, my bed, my food, and my cat. Home was the small town which I spent all my early years discovering. The place where I knew every street, short cut, secret playground, and little donut shop. I knew people and people knew me.
As years went by home became much harder to figure out, and the road home became an intermingled obstacle of highways and crooked roads which seemed so unfamiliar it was unthinkable to retrace the route back.
After moving to Seattle, getting divorced, and quitting my job, all in the period of less than a year, I felt lost. Where was I? Who was I? And furthermore where, what, and who could bring me back home. (Iowa with all of my connections 10 years ago.) It was impossible to find this place without a road trip time machine.
In the midst of this all I had begun renting a room from a lovely lady, in a lovely house. Despite her warmness, her house was not my home.
To add insult to injury, my soul mate of a cat,Sally, who had shown me nothing but unconditional love and support over our 10 years together had decided moving to a house with a cat she didn’t like was the last straw in our relationship; she had taken to hissing at me as I walked into the room, and running under the bed when I tried to snuggle her.
The lovely little house I’d moved into was already equip with a full kitchen full of utensils, which for some reason really made me miss the spoons my husband had taken in our divorce. Stirring my coffee with those spoons had for some reason equaled home in my mind.
One memory in particular sticks out as the time in my life where I was entirely adrift, not tied to any place, person, or thing. The absence of secret playgrounds, short cuts, moms, houses, jobs,spoons,and husbands had left me hollow and aching for home.
I said to my new boyfriend, Alex, nonchalantly at first, “I think I want to move home.”
I’d been holding it together pretty good with all that had been happening, but in that moment,saying those words aloud, and feeling the impact of what they meant “ I want to move home” made me lose it. It was the first time I had really cried in front of him in the 4 months we’d been together.
In the midst of my sobs which seemed to come from nowhere,“I said I think I should move back to Iowa, so I can be home again.”
He held me, and said he understood what I meant. I explained how it seemed like everyone else in this life had dreams of grandeur; they wanted to accomplish great things, go to fantastic far off places, and amass an amount of amazing experiences, but all I wanted to do was be home.
I said how I wanted to bake a cake, spend time with my friends, play board games, meander in my neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, go yard saling, and have a vegetable garden. I told him I just want a simple life with simple pleasures, but that I didn’t know how to get back there from here.
He wrapped me in his arms and said “Me too…..that’s all I want too.” For a moment I felt home. And I realized it wasn’t about Iowa it was about feeling home, I needed to figure out what home was for me, and let go of the rest. I needed to let go of what I thought I should be compared to other people, and just be what made me feel home.
It would be great to say that from that moment on, I was enlightened enough to follow through on that epiphany, but that was just the spark to an idea which caused me to go in search of home. Here are a few things I’ve found so far.
Home is baking a cake from scratch for someone I love. And home is also discovering after careful investigation that almost all items in this picture were found at yard sales or were hand me downs from friends and family.
Home is reading a book on the back patio on a sunny day.
Home is a little flower from the garden in a glass vile handed down by my mom.
Home is little wild flowers planted by Alex on our side porch in the summer.
Home is where Sally is. (And especially where she is and is not angry with me) Home is mom, dad, brother, friends, grandma and Alex. But most of all it is me, and where I am when I am there.
Home is being grounded, slowing down, and figuring out what I actually enjoy in life. Home is making time for people I love, shooting the shit over a few beers, and playing a board game on a Sunday afternoon.
Home is not who I am to anyone else, but it is who I am to me.
It’s taken a lot of work and thought to get back home, and these days I do feel home more times than not. But every day the challenge is to check myself and ask, why are you doing that? Does this make you feel home, or are you moving away from yourself?
The cheesy saying written on many a wooden door sign, “Home is where the heart is”, is true, except I would just change one word and say “Home is where my heart is.” And that is it.
That is all I have to do to get back home find my heart and my breath in each moment. Here’s to you all finding your way home to whatever, wherever, whoever and whenever. Welcome Home to us all.