Home is where the heart is, so the saying goes. Home is wherever I lay my hat, so another saying goes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, home is the place where one lives permanently. So how can one place be all these contradicting things?
Home means different things to different people. For some, home is the family house where they grew up. For others, it’s a place they fell in love with overseas, or the people who offer stability and security. After returning from a trip to my home country of England, ‘home’ and the meaning of it has been on my mind. With family and friends in different parts of the world, and having lived in five different countries, home is hard to define. Combine that with a restless spirit and a curious mind and the concept of home takes on a whole new meaning.
As I’ve pondered the complex issue of home in recent days, I’ve thought about all the different places I have lived and the times when I have felt truly at home. I have felt at home in my family’s house, within groups of like-minded people, with strangers in a foreign country and of course, in my own country. I’m fortunate to have never been without basic necessities in life such as food, warmth and shelter. So instead, the feeling of home has been accompanied by community and a sense of belonging.
And that is the crux of the conundrum that is home. It’s a place where people feel they belong, a place where they are safe and where there are others who think in a similar way. Home cannot be defined in one single sentence, and the nature of home often changes throughout a lifetime. Therefore, home is where you make it. Home is where you choose to be, not where you feel you should be, and it’s the place where you feel loved. It may be hard to define but it’s easy to understand once it’s felt, and I’m lucky to have homes in many different places.
What does home mean to you? Feel free to comment below.