Where is Home?

My colleagues and I have been debating the question where is home?

On the one hand, we have K who vehemently believes that home is where you live right now. For K, this is a very black and white issue with a wrong answer and a right answer.

On the other, we have nearly everyone else who considers that home is not necessarily where you live right now, but is different for each one of us with no correct answer.

This debate got me thinking about what home is and how my concept of home today has changed from what home meant to me 10, 15, or even 20 years ago.So what is home?

turtle home.jpg

The dictionary has numerous definitions for the word home including:

  • a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household
  • the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered
  • the place or region where something is native or most common
  • any place of residence or refuge
  • a person’s native place or own country

home_RobertFrost.jpgSo even the dictionary shows there is no one answer. Home does means different things. And I think that what home is can change over time based on your personal journey.

For example, I was born in one state and lived there until I was nine when my family moved to another state where I spent the remainder of my childhood. So what would I consider home? The state where I was born? Or the state where I graduated high school? As a child, my answer varied depending on the circumstance of the conversation and depending on whether I wanted to portray myself as a “yankee” or “southerner” that day.

When I was in college and lived in a dorm, home was a specific address—the house where my parents lived. That was my “permanent address” that I listed on every form. Even during my senior year when I moved into my first apartment, home continued to be where my parents lived.

But then in my mid-twenties, my mom moved into a new house (but same town) and the house of my childhood was sold. So then home simply became the town where my mom lived instead of one specific address.

home_matsuobasho.jpg

In my late twenties, I moved to a new state. And now I’ve lived in 5 states, 10 cities, and too many addresses to count. I moved to the D.C. metro area in late 2015. But in these last two years, I’ve already had 3 addresses (all 3 addresses were in the same city, but very different parts of that city).

Then again, even though I’ve lived here two years, I don’t consider Virginia home. I’d posit that even if I lived here another 10 years, I still wouldn’t consider Virginia home. (And if I have a choice, Virginia will not going to be the last state I live in.)

So where is home? Here’s what I think.

Home can be exactly where you are now. It may be the exact address of the house where you reside today.

Home could be where you grew up, maybe it’s where your parents still live or the city or region where you were born or went to high school or got married.

Home might be your native country. Maybe you were born and raised in one country and now live in someplace else in the world.

Home can be the person you love the most. And wherever that person is at any given moment is your home.

Home might not be a point on any map, but may an idea. Maybe it’s a place you seek but haven’t found yet. Or maybe it’s simply where your heart lies.

If you ask me, there is no right answer. Home is wherever you want. Wherever your heart lies. Wherever you feel . . . at home.

Where is home for you? Tell me in the comments below.

 

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