I’ve been somewhat of a nomad most of my life. Growing up, my mom and I moved every few years for a while. We finally settled in with my grandparents where I stayed for my longest stretch of time at six years. In my adult life, the longest I lived in one city was for eight years. But during those eight years, I lived in six places.
I can’t seem to sit still for too long.
Since I visit so infrequently, the town where my mom still resides that I have always called “home” feels like it is losing its nostalgic grip on me.
When I started to realize this, it scared me a bit.
If that isn’t ‘home’, then where is?
What makes a place a “home”? Where you have friends and community? Is it where you reside? Where you have your job? Is it where your birth-family lives or the town you grew up in? Technology makes the idea of “community” much broader than it was even as recently as my childhood. I have friends all over the world with whom I’m in touch with almost daily. However, there is definitely a difference between my online communications and spending physical time with local friends.
How does one make a place their home? If a person loses their job, why do they struggle to stay in their same locale instead of seeking employment elsewhere?
Is it because moving sucks? It’s a pain in the ass. An awful lot of us have friends in many cities, so having a social outlet probably isn’t too difficult if moving becomes necessary. We usually adapt and adjust fairly quickly to new surroundings, and yet, the struggle is there to stay put. To stay at ‘home’.
I queried a friend of mine yesterday why he’s stayed in Prescott for so many years. He said because he loves that he can go out and usually run into someone he knows. He has some uniquely good friends here, the weather is great, and the countryside is beautiful and easily accessible. I asked him why he didn’t move to a place like Boulder, Colorado. Sounds similar, right? He said he might like it there, but this is where he is and it fits.
But there are a lot of places like that. I’ve lived in a few cities where I’d move back and settle in for a while if there was cause. Having the knowledge that I could go anywhere makes me feel unsettled at times – like I have no solid home base. I have some truly wonderful friends in the town where I now reside. Does one choose to make a place their home and set about creating it consciously, or does it just happen? One day you look back and realize that you’ve been in a place for so many years and have built a community of friends and have history in that location – that you have unwittingly created a home.
Is home as Robert Frost wrote in his poem “The Death of the Hired Man”?
‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.’
(or perhaps it is more like what The Tick says:
“Interviewer: Well, can you… destroy the world?
Tick: Egad! I hope not! That’s where I keep all my stuff!”)