There is a power in space and place. For one, it’s been an incredible month for me being home in the city I love. I feel rejuvenated when I come back to spend some down time, especially in a place as incredible as Chicago. And it makes sense…it’s a common practice to take time to go “home for the holidays.” It’s a great recharge and a nostalgic return to childhood for so many.
But our cultural definitions of “home” often restrict us to a location, a resting place, the place where our family is, wherever we have pillow and a blanket. We answer “where is home?” with physical spaces and the places we most identify with, silencing (inadvertently, of course) the voices of people who maybe haven’t had a steady place to call “home.”
Having just one “home” isn’t always the case, either. I grew up in a house on The Pines. But I also grew up at my high school in French class and gym and my university in East Hall and Crawford and Shaw and Lower Elm and Higley and all these other little spaces where I learned and I found myself and became someone I liked being around.
I didn’t just find myself in places. I found myself (and continue to find myself) with the guidance and love from my lighthouse people: my advisors and dear friends and roommates and brilliant peers. I self-discover by reading great works of poets and scholars and artists and writing things down and talking things out with the people I trust and truly listening to people brighter and wiser than me.
I think that sometimes, we find our home in people.
And it’s magical – and even empowering in a way – that “home” doesn’t have to be a space or place. Home can be found in people that make us feel whole and safe. They are the greats sprinkled into our daily lives to be our salvation.
It’s why losing people is so hard and painful…it’s losing a home along with its moments and memories and familiarity. It uproots us and scares us.
BUT, it is also why connecting with new people is energizing and exciting and wonderful. I don’t think we have to restrict ourselves by having one home. We find new homes every day.
Just remember…guard them and keep them safe and hold them dear with all your might. Your people are worth it.
Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
– Sarah Dessen in What Happened to Goodbye