I got to talking with an acquaintance a few days ago. He regaled us with stories about his life and travels. He started in the UK, but moved to Japan for work when his son was still really young. Now, his work has taken him to the States and his family will be joining him. He had intended to return to the UK, but I suppose he’s realizing now it may not happen as quickly or at all.
Yesterday, I took a drive out to the college town. While I did not revisit many places, or any places of true significance, it felt really comforting to return to a familiar (shopping) area. I began to think about how I felt during the years I spent in college and how much has changed since I left and also, how my definition of “home” has evolved.
When I was a child, I had only known one home and it belonged in the apartment complex. Very abruptly, I had to start new, start in an unfamiliar area, with unfamiliar people and communities. I constantly yearned to return to my previous home, my friends, my neighborhood, the surroundings I knew, but I couldn’t. I was stuck for four years and during my teenage years of angst, hormones, and overly dramatic emotions, I never felt like it was home. I felt as if something had always been missing and couldn’t be fulfilled.
College had eventually become my new home. I felt comfortable. I felt safe. I felt as if I had everything I had needed and felt fulfilled. As I graduated and moved back into the previous house (aka parents’ house), I felt like I was going backwards. It didn’t feel like home again. I had to watch my actions and what I wanted to do. I couldn’t be me; I couldn’t do things as freely as I would have wished.
As I begin my transition to leave the “nest,” I begin to think about where my new “home” should be. To which area do I want to move? What do I call and what will I define as home? Will it be defined by geographical locations? The surrounding community? The proximity of the people I hold near and dear to my heart? Or will it be the sense of parental freedom? The ability to be free of housemates and be myself without judgment or fear?
What is a home?