Ever since I left the nest for the first time, I’ve been sensitive to what this word actually means. Maybe it’s silly to give it so much thought. Home is where the heart is, isn’t it? For me, it’s been a struggle to define this because my heart, saturated with wanderlust, habitually attaches itself to different places.
In this economic climate, a lot of my friends have participated in the Great Migration Home, with home being our parents’ place. With an impotent job market at our generation’s fingers, finding solace in our old rooms and familiar settings is both a source of comfort and slight embarrassment. Look at it this way, though. Instead of becoming strangers to our families in the process of “growing up,” this migration presents a unique opportunity to reconnect with the people who have loved us, provided for us, and funded us unconditionally through the years.
As you may know, I moved to Maryland/Washington, D.C. after graduating college. I jumped right into a Congressional internship, then took on a year’s commitment at a legal non-profit organization as an AmeriCorps outreach coordinator. Music swept me up from underneath my feet like a knight in shining armor, and it has carried me back west for now. I’m very fortunate to be employed in the meantime by both my music and by a writer who I truly respect. So my move back home was not out of financial deprivation. It was a voluntary choice, but it does bring with it some sacrifices. The last time I lived in my parents’ house for an extended period of time was at age 17, before moving out for college. Now, at 23, I’m finding myself being told to go to bed, reminded to do the dishes, and scolded not to stay out “too late.” Things I left in one place end up finding their way into cupboards or closets at my mom’s doing. And once in a while, my mom is overcome with the compulsion to go through my baby pictures with me. I greet these things with a sigh and chuckle. Even though I’ve spent five years proving to them and myself that I am self-sufficient, my parents will always be parents, no matter what.
I had an emotional parting with Maryland. I have to admit and come to terms with that. Although I’m back in the Golden State, I still miss the Old Line. I know that I didn’t grow up in Maryland, but everyone I met through music made me feel right at home. I’m a product of its people, all of whom I hold near and dear to my heart. A dear friend of mine told me that everyone I met there served as mirrors to help me see who I am, which I agreed with wholeheartedly. It was something very special that I will never forget. Maryland is another home for me, and I hope to come back to it soon if only just to visit.
I’m slowly learning that I will experience many senses of home in this lifetime. Having moved around so much, you’d think that I would have learned that already, but I’ve never been one to take goodbyes well.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Home comprises of the people you surround yourself with and has little to do with place. That’s why partings are of such sweet sorrow. And that’s why you feel attached to locations in the first place – it’s the people. It always has been and always will be the people who have touched your life, changed the way you viewed certain things, made you laugh, and shared your hardships that make you feel comfortable being where you are. Home doesn’t have to be something you leave or come back to. It’s not a fixed entity. Home is something you can build along the way. And you don’t have to go over the rainbow to find it.
Soundtrack of the day:
Thelonious Monk – Blue Monk
She & Him – Brand New Shoes
Bon Iver – Flume