Day two of our mini series about home. Because home brings us both joy and reminds us to be grateful for so many things.
What is home? Is it where you hang your hat? Is it anywhere I am with you? Is it something familiar or something that creates such a depth of calm in you that it’s difficult to describe? Maybe it’s a place that feels like a long lost friend.
Can you ever truly go back or when you go back to the physical place that you thought of as home, the place where you became who you are, where you learned what’s right and wrong … or have your beliefs – the core of who you are – changed so much that the place is no longer home, because home is within you?
Do people who find true happiness, honest joy, just finally figure out where that home is inside themselves?
I spent ⅔ of my life moving from place to place, my mom, dad and two sisters were there until I went away to college, but I never felt a true sense of belonging … “home” … except a short time when I found a small circle of friends. I sought it out. I yearned for a feeling I’d never felt. I experienced wanderlust … that craving for a place you’ve never been.
From a year in college, to active duty moving around, I continued to crave that sense of belonging … that “home.” I tried … and failed … to find it in marriage. I tried … and failed some more … with many short- and long-term relationships. I found smatterings of a feeling of home, but never true home. Within what seemed like moments, I was once again craving something that wasn’t there.
Having a child brought a new understanding of love, but the restlessness remained. An old boyfriend turned into a second marriage, and a second child. I thought the familiarity was what I sought, but it wasn’t. I moved more … from place to place … but never found the seemingly unattainable. I’d look up old boyfriends, wondering if I’d missed something in those relationships. It was nice to reconnect to the familiar and maturity gave me the ability to turn failed relationships into friendships … but, still no home.
Then it happened. Someone entered my life who didn’t try to be my home, rather gave me the freedom, security and support to find it within myself. He didn’t (and still doesn’t) agree with everything I do or say, but we support each other. We do what we can to understand each other’s points of view – even when we simply agree to disagree. We find comfort in the same things. We are home with each other – and part of each of our homes is the never-ending quest for more – the next great adventure, the unknown, the place we’ve never been but somehow feel drawn to … so much more.
Despite the incurable restlessness of wanderlust, I have an incredibly deep sense of peace. I have found true and utter joy. I am home, because home is in me.
It’s easier to let go of anger, or not feel it at all. It’s easier to smile. It’s easier to be spontaneous. I am unafraid of the unknown, because I found what I sought. Now the unknown is a curiosity, a tantalizing pinata filled with adventurous treats to touch and smell and taste and experience.
Perhaps the true definition of home is more than just what’s inside of you. For me, it all came together when I found a truly kindred spirit, a person who sees the things I see and loves the things I love. Growing up, my best friend knew all my secrets. Like all genuine best friends, we shared our souls with each other, but we didn’t agree on much. She liked bad boys. I always prefer the chiseled, olive-skinned, Mediterranean look. She liked rock and heavy metal. I prefer pop, ballads and even country. But we were best friends. Something about our differences and our shared experiences bound us together in an inseparable way.
Even years after her passing, I could go visit her mother and the moment I walked in the door the weight of the world remained outside. Her home always gave me that “at home” feeling, but it never really felt complete. Mummy and her other three children were the closest family I’d ever encountered and although I was welcomed, I was not one of them … I couldn’t be.
With Greg, I found a new best friend. We share secrets, commiserate over hardships, and have deep conversations about whatever comes up. We had no idea we had the same preferences for colors or music or travel or design or hundreds of other things. We discuss everything from work to personal struggles and feelings. Early on, though, there was no reason to talk about the things you would discuss if you were building a home.
Then, we became a couple. Suddenly we did have a reason to discuss building a home: choosing furniture and dishes and wall paint colors. And we learned we have nearly identical taste in everything. We love the same food. We spend hours, still, listening to music together. We plan trips and travel as if we were supposed to be together our entire lives. Everything about my surroundings was suddenly comfortable.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I was home. It wasn’t a place. In fact, we lived in five places in the first eight years of our relationship. But being with him was home. Home is easy to describe now as wherever I am with Greg.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Take home with you!
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