What a baffled and mixed concept.
Stated in the singular as if in fact it had only one meaning.
For me, home has never had just one meaning. Like so much of what I talk about, home has been a concept that is fleeting; a concept that is as much about physicality as it is about a state of being.
For me home is the house I grew up in.
But because I grew up in many different houses, it’s each and every house that came to build the person I would one day become.
It is in every nook and cranny that I found in each and every house that I lived in.
It is as much the house as it is the memories in the house.
For me home is a seat on a plane flying internationally for the hundredth time.
It is as much the state of coming and going from home as it is the state of being at home.
For me, home is the driver’s seat of a car. Whatever car – mine or yours, doesn’t matter – Because I am so used to cars that it never really mattered where we were going, as long as we were going somewhere and it was me that was driving with my leg up on the car door feeling the breeze run through my hair and having someone that I loved in the passenger seat next to me.
For me home is the happiness of seeing old friends, and you know what, it is as much watching them laugh at an old joke as it is seeing all the new things they have accomplished with their older selves.
But that friend could be anywhere in the world. Because it never mattered where we were, it just mattered that we were.
For me home is the house my parents build atop a mountain too big for the two of them.
That place is home even though I cannot remember the time I spent living in it as a baby.
That place is home because of the people that built it; the people that live within its walls.
That place is home because of the love that I know stems from its roots and the view of the ocean that I know will forever be part of its core.
See it is easy for people to get caught up in trying to define home.
But home is wherever you want it to be.
And maybe for you that is so utterly obvious.
But a younger me found that to be a difficult concept.
I didn’t grow up in a permanent home; we moved houses almost as much as we moved continents.
And maybe it was bound to happen, but moving gave me a gypsy soul.
And so, I travelled.
And unbeknownst to me, I created homes wherever I went.
And it wasn’t until I had to leave all those homes that I began to realise just how many homes I really had.
I finally knew what it meant to have roots, and that I’d had them all along.
They had been in every house.
In every car.
In every flight
In every destination and every coming home.
Home had been the moments that I had made with the people I have loved – The people I will forever love.
And home can really be whatever you want it to be.
Your home will inevitably, therefore, be very different from my home.
It could, in fact, be the childhood house you grew up in.
And I thought for so long that that was the typical feature that defined home.
And I suppose moving around so much, I thought I would never really know home then.
But thank God for hindsight
Because when I finally had to depart from the places that I thought were but fleeting glimpses of what home could be;
I realised there was nothing fleeting about them at all.
They had always been home, and it was me that had made them that way.
And when I left, the strings of departure stabbed at me as if broken heartedness was at my door.
But that was a while ago now.
And I was pained to find out not to long ago, that my sense of home had changed.
And I’ve come to believe that, for some people, maybe a lot of us, that is, in fact, normal.
But that doesn’t make it any less hard; or any more the easier.
Because these are your places and people and memories; and side streets, and main roads; these are the things that make you come alive with memory and purpose.
And it is only after things change that your mind catches on to the fact they have changed.
And it is an odd feeling when home changes.
This is because; you can actually feel it. Feel it in your bones.
Because on every trip home, every flight there and back, every car drive to the places I knew, I realised more and more that my sense of those places as home had changed.
Those homes were no longer where my purpose lay.
And I think I ran from this thought for a lot longer than I should have.
But eventually; like most things, you can’t keep running. You can’t keep trying to hold on to something that is no longer where you are supposed to be.
I could no longer be oblivious to the homes that I had let go.
And of course, this too brings sadness.
But it is not the same sadness that fills quarries or wipes the night sky.
This sadness may be one of departure, but it does not feel like the broken heartedness of before.
It doesn’t feel like something has been stolen or is missing or has been ripped out.
Rather, it just feels like letting go. Plain and simple; it is change.
And change is an uncomfortable thing; it is wildly intimidating.
And what’s more; when it changes, it is usually the last thing you really pay conscious mind too.
As if it were even feasible that overnight the place that you felt physically connected too could just be thrown by you into the gutter.
No, change happens before we have a moment to catch up.
But just because it changes doesn’t mean you have thrown it into a meaningless place.
Change can’t erase what has been. It cannot erase the memories you made or the love you created.
Just because a place isn’t home anymore, doesn’t mean you forget about it.
Because you cannot change that that place was once, even if long ago, home.
And no matter whether current or old, I think you always remember home.