Home. It’s a funny word, the O.E.D defines it as a place where a person dwells, and whilst that certainly makes sense, I am not so sure that it is right.
Some people argue that home is where your family are, or where your happiest memories are from, or even that home is merely where you spent the majority of your childhood. However I know that for me at least, home has been an individual person when times are rough, or a certain spot on my running route that helps me gain perspective and stay grounded, or most recently that home has been a telephone line between myself and someone that I can trust with anything and everything if necessary.
Perhaps I’m prematurely nostalgic, or I’ve just never settled into the house I currently live in. Regardless, it is currently 16 days until I move, and I don’t feel like I’m leaving home despite having lived here with the majority of my family for nearly two years, what’s worse though is that I don’t feel that I am going home either. So where do I belong? Is this merely the product of divorce; I can no longer feel at home as there is no one place with all those that I love in it. Or is it a result of boarding school; I am so used to not settling down into one room, one set of people, one place, that I no longer am able to. Am I condemned to constantly having a roof over my head, and plenty of food at the table, but simultaneously being emotionally, mentally, homeless.
This house has the appearance of a home, four walls, photographs of the children, nearly-neat bedrooms with floordrobes and untidy desks. It even has the dinner time small talk, or worse socio-political debate. Classic arguments about who’s loading the dishwasher, when the dog was last walked, or why the TV was left on all day when no one was here. So why does it not feel right. Of course I love my parents and siblings, no matter how annoying I find them all, and I will miss them dearly, but for some reason that’s not enough. The people I love in one house, routinely acting out their sequences that build up lives and create stories doesn’t seem to make a home. No matter how nicely the walls are decorated, or how much I engrain myself into the lives of those here I still feel so utterly… temporary.
I don’t know if this feeling is normal, but I know I cannot be the only person, perhaps it’s just a pre-real life state in which I yearn to be future me but am bound by my age and linear time. Or maybe home is never truly achieved for some people, humans are so good at putting these abstract ideas onto a pedestal that they become unattainable leaving us as a crumpled mess of failed attempts to do the impossible. This may seem like a rather bleak outlook, but I promise it isn’t. I hope beyond hope on a daily basis that everyone finds a place they feel comfortable, where they don’t have to tread on proverbial eggshells, where they can act out their day to day lives and be happy with the results of it. But perhaps that comfortable place isn’t home, perhaps it’s just learning to genuinely be content with where you are and who you are. Perhaps the safest way to be consistently happy in life is to make yourself your home.