Where is home? It seems like this would be a pretty easy question to answer, but it turns out to be more complicated than I had initially thought.
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/home offers multiple definitions of home, including:
- A place where one lives; a residence; the physical structure within which one lives
- A dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it
- A household
- An environment offering security and happiness
- A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin
- The place where one was born or has lived for a long time
- The native habitat, as of a plant or animal.
The above list of definitions adds very little clarity about what home is.
Consider these quotes:
“The ache for home lies in all of us, the safe place here we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~ Maya Angelou. In this quote the word home may not actually refer to the place we were born and raised. For some people that was not a safe place. Questioning and judgment may have be prevalent. But, that home could have been with a friend, neighbor, other family member, or somewhere else.
“Home is where one starts from.” ~ T.S. Eliot. While this appears a simple statement about the place you lived in childhood, I think there may be more to it. How one defines the word “start” could have significant impact. Did I start from a place, a family, a mindset, or even a culture?
“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” ~ Tad Williams. I particularly like this one. It allows a lot more freedom and doesn’t have ties to something from the past that might have been unpleasant or unhealthy and also suggests individual agency and responsibility.
Home has meant different things to me at different stages of my life. At times it has been a house where I lived, and other times it has been a feeling of safety. Currently home is more of a sanctuary that puts distance between me and the drama and chaos that seem to be everywhere around me. That said, I am working toward the Tad Williams definition. How about you? How do you define home? Is it the same as how you defined it when you were younger? How and why did it change? That is a topic I plan to explore more in my morning journal.