Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever I’m with you. I could list off probably a dozen or more clichés about what home is, but chances are most of you have seen them on throw pillows knitted by rapidly aging relatives or on Hallmark cards. Yes, it has become very clear to me in the past few weeks the importance of this idea of “home”, arguably another American myth.
But what if it’s not? What if home is an actual place or a feeling? Then the question becomes, why don’t I have one? I don’t mean to sound melodramatic (and for all concerned parties, I have a roof over my head so I don’t want it to sound like I’m literally homeless) but home is a concept that escapes me.
When I was a kid, I was raised in the same house in the same small town in Ohio until I went off to college. Since then, the childhood home in Wyoming, Ohio has been sold and my parents have gone their separate ways, creating new lives and new homes on opposite ends of the country. When I went off to college, I did the nomadic thing. I lived in the dorms for a couple of years, made some great friends, but then it came time to move on. I surfed from couch to couch and occasionally went back to my own apartment, but whenever I went home, without fail, I went back to an empty apartment.
See, if you ask me, home is other people. That’s part of what’s so maddening about this new place. No matter how you slice it, I’m coming home to an empty apartment. I’m not saying that in the sense that I’m incapable of being without someone, but over a week, stuck here alone with my own thoughts? It’s bound to drive anyone mad.
So, here’s to my continuing quest to finding the meaning of home. Don’t know what it looks like, but I’m bound to know when I get there… right?