The move has been completed for a bit, now. What’s the next part called? Unpacking. (Ugh.) It’s a little done. It’s also a little overwhelming. It’s also not fun. Well, maybe it is a little fun. Figuring out how to decorate my new place can be a good time. Okay, so obviously I have mixed feelings about it. Half the time I want to hire a garbage man and interior decorator and say, “Have at it guys. I’ll be back in 24 hours.” Other times, I look around and think, “I could put this here and that there and OH! This would look great here.” Making this place home is going to be a good thing, and I hope to have the physical job of unpacking done by the end of the week.
I don’t know if everyone reading this thing knows, but I have a job where I assist people over the telephone all day. (Gear shift, I know, but stay with me.) One of the verification questions I ask a lot of them is, “What’s your home zip code?” There are quite a few foreign nationals that work for the US firm, and they get thrown off by this question more often than not. They normally ask for clarification of which code do I mean, the one from their home country or in the US?
This has got me thinking what makes a place a home. For the foreign nationals working for the US firm, they question “home” meaning where they’re living for the time being, or the place they came from. My dogs are probably wondering where home is after being in the old apartment so long, staying at my boyfriend’s place for a few weeks, and now being in this new apartment. I even wonder sometimes. While I’m on this earth, where is home?
“Home is where your roots are.” is a saying I take to mean that you are always going to belong to the place where you grew up. You can always go back there and still be home, no matter how far you move and how long you stay away. The thought can be quite comforting. When you’re out and about in the world, there’s always one place you’ll belong. If you start to feel like you’ve lost your place in the world, maybe you should test out if this rings true for you.
Some people would say, “Home is where your family is.” When you are young, I’d agree this is true. You rely heavily on them. Instinct is to trust the family you’re born into and grow up with. This is necessary for survival even. Sometimes, though, even when we are children, our blood relatives are not actually where we feel at home.
Sometimes, “Home is where you hang your hat.” To me, this saying means where you’re comfortable is where home is. Though, it could even be simpler than that and mean home is where you spend most of your time. While growing up, I would spend a ton of time at my best friend’s house. I called it my home away from home, but I’m sure there were times I felt more comfortable there then when I was at my family’s house and vice versa.
Another saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” This could be talking about wanting to be with the person you love or the place or people you long for in general. I suppose if you find yourself missing a certain someone or a certain bed, that’s where home is for you according to this saying. I think this one probably comes to people more in their adult life. Once someone starts making their own way in the world, maybe finds a significant other, this starts to make some sense.
The final cliche, “There’s no place like home.” is probably the hardest for me to wrap my brain around. What if home to me is several places? What if I am happy where I am, but I do long to be with other people and around certain things? I don’t think that means I don’t have a home. I think that means I have several places I call home.
So, when someone asks me what my home zip code is, I’ll reply with that five digit number, but all the while I’ll be thinking that I have several homes. Home is where the heart is, home is where my family is, home is where I hang my hat, home is where my friends are. Home is where I’m meant to be, and as long as that rings true, I cannot be homeless.