There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. OK Dorothy, we get it. Whether your memories of home magically catapult you into a happy place, like Dorothy, or stir up thoughts of discomfort, sorrow, or possible bitterness, you cannot deny what Dorothy knows to be true: home is a unique place. I recently moved from Dallas to Nashville, so I confess that I have this concept of home on the brain right now. The move was fast, and friends are gracious enough to let me stay with them while I transition, but I’m having a hard time accepting either their guest room or my 10×10 storage unit as home. In the most figurative way possible, I feel homeless.
Now that I’m in my “mid-20s” this concept of home seems temporarily trapped in limbo between the place where my immediate family is (yes, Mom and Dad, where you are will always be home to me) and the home that my future-immediate family will build, complete with TBD husband and children. So in the meantime, I’m learning to be a bit more flexible with my definition.
Here are some of my thoughts: Is home the physical building or town I grew up in? Or the house my parents own? Or maybe the place where my pillow stays? To some extent it’s all of these. But if home is the building that houses my things, then I’ve had six homes in the past two-and-a-half years, in three different cities; and I’ve owned none of them. I don’t like that definition. Nor do I like the idea that home is the brick house, still owned by my parents, where I lived for the first 18 years of my life. Of course that will always be home, and it will continue to be the answer to the question, “Where’s home for you?” while I’m in this transient season of life. But it’s not my home anymore. So in my search for home I’ve successfully eliminated physical buildings and my parent’s house. And as already noted I’m in-between residences right now, which really just leaves me with one creative option: community.
Andrew Largeman, of Garden State fame, attempts a similar definition: “You know that point in your life when you realize that the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore … you will never have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself … for the family you start. It’s like a cycle or something. Maybe that’s all family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place.” I think Large may be right. While I think family runs much deeper than simply a group of people longing for past memories, it’s true that in this in-between phase I’m dependent on the people doing life with me to provide me with a sense of home.
Maybe that’s part of why we 20somethings are so desperate for community. We want family close by, and we want the security of home in spite of leases that expire, roommates who marry or move, and jobs that take us to new places. But if I define home by the people who love me and the communities I’m a part of, I move from being seemingly homeless to actually having more homes now than at any other point in my life. Depending on which day you ask me, I may tell you that my home is in Lexington, Birmingham, or Dallas. And I guess now I’ll be adding Nashville to that list. So wherever you are, welcome home.