“Where we love is home- home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
I’ve come to the realization that home, for me at least, has become a bit of an obscure idea. After moving away for college, I’ve noticed this weird feeling of homelessness. Sure I have a home, with walls and a roof. I even have a neighborhood. But the place that I used to call home, the place that I grew up, doesn’t feel the same. Every time I return to Seattle to visit family and friends I am slapped in the face with the cold hard truth that my city has moved on without me. It still has all the charm and beauty that I remember but the emotional connection is no longer there. The answer to why this is happening seems simple, I merely just switched homes- meaning that my new home is in Ashland, OR where I now reside. I’m not sold on this though. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and have come to some conclusions.
Firstly, home is not a physical location or structure. Duh, that is called a house… Home is a feeling. A symbiotic relationship between innate human needs and emotional attachment. When I think of what still feels like home in Seattle, the only things that significantly stand out are my family and close friends. Meaning that they could be anywhere in the world and that I would feel at home around them regardless of the location. This feeling of “home” is comprised of the before mentioned innate human needs; such as security and connectedness. Throw in some emotional needs like love, comfort and acceptance and you’ve got yourself a full blown HOME! I do believe that although physical location doesn’t necessarily play a role in this, it can sometimes take on characteristics that people find representative of home. For example, I would consider the Rogue River to be my home. I feel an instant sensation of calm and comfort every time I float her waters. But these emotions stem from memories and connection to nature, rather than the river itself.
Secondly, you can have more than one home. The beauty of emotion is that it can occur numerous times throughout your life. You can feel love, comfort and acceptance at any given moment. So lucky you- you don’t have to pick just one home! For me, I have began to acknowledge that I have a whole bunch of homes. I have a home with my family and friends of course, but I also am at home while watching Netflix cuddled up to my main squeeze. I’m at home on the river and in the woods I grew up in. There are also little pieces of home in my travels- places like Cusco and Namibia, where I have been shaped and inspired to be the person I am today.
I have an abundance of acceptance, comfort and love. I am not homeless and either are you.