You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.Miriam Adeney
There are so many descriptions people use to define the concept of ‘home’: the place where your loved ones are, the place where your dog runs to greet you, the place where your things are, the place where you sleep. To some it will always be the place they grew up, or perhaps the place they settled down as an adult. I have come to realize that the definition of home is illusive to me, however, and I thought maybe a little writing would help me figure it out. I started as I always do by looking for a quote that relates to the topic. As I am writing currently, I have approximately 15 quotes with different explanations or definitions of home saved. I hope that as I go through the writing process, I will be able to pick the quote that most matches with my eventual definition.
First, let’s back up to what spurred my return to writing. During a conversation a while back with a newly acquainted friend, they asked where home is. I realized in that moment that I could not answer the question with one town or even one state. There is the place I was born, the place I grew up, the place I lived a large part of my adult life, and the place I pay rent and taxes. None of them are really ‘home’ anymore. I move every three to four months as a travel nurse, and while I enjoy the locations, none of them have truly felt like home.
In my almost 47 years on this planet, I have moved 44 times. I was not a military brat and my parent’s still live on the beautiful farm where I spent most of my childhood, so I will not be blaming them for my wandering ways. I can partially attribute this to my job as a travel nurse, but to be fair, this is something that started long ago as I have always been somewhat of a gypsy at heart. I have family and friends in various places where I have lived around the country and around the world, but I wouldn’t label any place too we individuals are as home either.
In trying to define home, I came up with a rather sobering, perhaps a bit morbid, definition. I decided that “home was where you would go for cancer treatment.” It’s the place you feel comfortable enough to be sick. It’s the place where you have someone that will make you soup and bring you a zofran when you don’t feel good enough to get up and get it yourself. First off, let me clarify that I do not have cancer, this is just the dark places the mind of an ER nurse goes. But in light of this working definition, I have been forced to think about where that place is for me. Is it with my parents, who are amazing, supportive, and loving people, but people whom I haven’t lived with in almost 30 years, and who reside in a town I have never had a desire to live in again? Is it in Florida where I maintain residency and have many close friends, particularly those in the medical field who would be especially resourceful based on my cancer treatment definition? Or maybe it is back where I lived a large chunk of my adult life prior to my move to Florida? I have some close friends there too. After some consideration, I have decided that none of these are really home either. Robert Frost said that “home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I have no doubt that my parents would take me in and bring me zofran, and my dad would make fun of me while I puke, and my mom would make delicious soup and dote on me. Bless them for it, but we would all drive each other crazy.
So now I am wondering if it is the definition of home that is illusive to me, or is it just that my definition isn’t the same as what most consider to be home. Home clearly isn’t a place for me. It isn’t a particular house or a dot on the map. Maybe home is the experiences and moments in my life that all build up. Just like the RV that I usually live in, maybe I take all of those moments with me so that home is always with me, wherever I go. Rupert, the 22 pound ruler of my life is always with me too. Granted, the little dog doesn’t make the soup or bring the meds, but he sure does provide endless comfort, snuggles, and amusement.
So here I still am, doing research, reading quotes, writing, and exploring the 980 channels that make up my ADHD brain. I am looking for my version of HGTV where my single income salary as a cat whisker stylist will allow me to find my dream home. I have been sitting on this article for a few weeks now. An edit here, an addition there, a little more research, a few deep dives into my brain and my heart, and I am not sure if I am any closer to being able to answer the original question I posed to myself. Perhaps I need to take the advice of one of my brilliant writer friends, and make make this a two or three part series. Maybe I will stumble across the answer or the place as I move around the states every few months for work. Maybe when I take my next trip outside of the U.S. I will find a country that speaks to me, and I won’t want to leave. Or maybe as the opening quote I landed on is correct. Maybe not having a home is the price I pay for the wonderful experiences I have had and the people I have met along the way.
So tell me, readers, not the physical location of your home, but what is it that makes that location ‘home’? Are you able to define it? Have you ever struggled to define home? What helped you to settle on a definition, and then a place that fit your definition? I am certain I am not the only person out there who has ever had this thought or this struggle. I look forward to hearing from you.
Home is a FEELING , not a PLACE. … No matter how old we are or how many miles away we live, it still FEELS like home. We may feel “at home” in a number of different places but only a handful have the importance of being home.
It’s been such a great FEELING to have met you! 😘HOME!!
Well it has been a long time since I have heard from Change of No Plans.
div>As always, very well written. And I believe my dear child you are destined to always have a gypsy soul. There is a lot of truth
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