On June 28, 2012 I asked myself “where in the world (literally) am I supposed to be?” While I can’t answer that question in the most precise manner, I am happy to report that right now, at this exact moment, I’m meant to be nowhere other than here (admittedly, there are a few other places I would rather be 😉 ).

Home (hōm) n. a : one’s place of residence : domicile

b : house. 2: the social unit formed by a family living together 3a : a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment; also : the focus of one’s domestic attention <home is where the heart is> (home. 2013. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/home)

The concept of “home” is something I believe may be constructed both individually as well as socially. Although this concept seems somewhat simplistic, it is something I have struggled with for most of my life. Growing up in a very rural area located in the Western United States, I grew up, somewhat, as a religious minority. During my youth I never really had many friends. At the time, I remember thinking there was something wrong with my family. Why did parents look at me in such a way? Why wasn’t I invited to the birthday party like everyone else? Why was I picked last for teams in gym class (besides my obvious lack of any athletic ability)? While I loved the physical structure of the house I grew up in, the area where my house was located could never be “home” for me, because I had always been an outsider. Now that my brother and I are grown up, my parents have sold the structure (house) where I grew up. Now there’s no going “home” for the holidays…

I’m sure many of you have heard the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This song was easily the most frequently played song on my playlist for quite some time.

Home, let me come home

Home is wherever I’m with you

Home, let me come home

Home is wherever I’m with you

After my fiancé and I broke up the song haunted me.  The concept of “home” seemed even more complicated. While still engaged, I traveled all over the world by myself and still felt rooted somehow. After my breakup everything changed; the confidence and self-assurance I had possessed while conquering the world country by country, continent by continent, had vanished. Even once I returned “home” to the ‘States, this overwhelming sense of loneliness still surrounded me. I had a cute little apartment, all my own, two wonderful cats, friends, school, and a job I loved… but something was missing, I didn’t feel at home.

Where is she going with all of this?

I’m getting to it…

This past summer I found home in a place I’d never even thought to look, I found it within myself.

I’d been told by a friend, “home is wherever you are.” I’d chant it like a mantra, hoping that somehow it’d stick and magically I could be at “home” by myself, wherever I was. That did not happen. Well, I mean, I did find home, but not magically.

I found home on July 27, 2012 (symbolically, of course, but that’s a story for another post) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Yes, my friend was right: home is wherever I am, but there’s a lot more to it. I’ve learned that home isn’t necessarily a physical structure, it’s not always where your loved ones reside, home is wherever you are and wherever you feel understood.

I’ve learned that few solutions (much like leggings) are “one-size fits all”, so I’ll leave you with a few parting questions:

Where is your home? How do you know you’re there?


3 thoughts on “Home

  1. Great writing and you describe this concept perfectly. I think a lot of expats (especially long-term expats like me) struggle with this from time to time. “Home is where your heart is” is a misleading statement but if you think about it, so true. For me home is where my bed is and all my stuff and the place where I know I can walk around in PJs all day and it’s ok. (But thats the ‘structure’ you talk about). It’s also, and more importantly, the place where people ‘get’ me, where I know I don’t even have to speak and just a look will be enough comment on something and the other person will now what I mean–and so that’s like having someone like it sounds you had in your fiance. But you can also have that with other family members or friends. I always teach my daughter “choose your friends carefully” and this is part of the reason why, I always want her to feel at home.

    Thought provoking post!

  2. American Bird

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Michelle. It’s interesting, because I was reading your blog and it looks like just over a week ago you wrote a post addressing something quite similar(I’ll comment on it later, my apologies for forgetting the post’s title).

  3. Exactly right! I was born in one place,lived in another for a year,lived in another for 30 years and am now living in another for the 3rd year.for me it is always changing too.

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