Today, we move. No, we’re not going far away (literally two miles down the road), just to a bigger apartment in a slightly closer area to where we want to be. But it’s strange and surreal to be moving away from a place that has been ‘home’ the longest.
Is it a place, or a feeling? Is it a community, a city, or just a space? I ask, because I don’t know. But I feel like home is maybe multiple things all jumbled together, a mix of emotion, of a house, of the people you are with. I feel as though, right now, I am both already home and also still on the journey to find it.
The first time I really felt like I was home, indescribably and undeniably home was when we walked through the doors of our first apartment together. I had my person, and that was all I needed at the time to define it.
But life and longing kicked in, and I had Jeff, but there was more, wasn’t there? So we built a Tiny House. Charleston wasn’t home – it was beautiful and lovely but not where we were meant to be. We knew that from the very beginning. So, we intended to travel, to find home in our portable house.
Together, and unplanned, we welcomed our baby in our 160 sq foot house on wheels. Those first few months of diapers and nursing and burp cloths was also home- a different home, but a safe, secure home. And the idea, the notion of home shifted and changed from a space to location, to the mountains. And we had to choose between keeping and cultivating our current house or starting new in a broader version of home. That was one of the toughest choices of my life.
Fast forward. We’ve been in Asheville a year this weekend. A year! For the first few months, my heart continued to stay torn. Maybe it was because we’re still not in a permanent spot – we’re just renting and anything can change anytime. But I would long for other cities and other experiences and forget to live in the place I currently live.
We took an incredible trip this past November. Splurged a bit to see New York City, small New Hampshire mountain towns, and coastal New England. During our travels, I wandered in my mind, dreaming of the houses we passed and what it would be like to live there. A flat in Brooklyn seems so charming, and I adore the quaint shotgun houses in Portsmouth. Nothing, I thought, could compare to these.
One our drive back home, as the mountains came into view, I had a feeling I’ve never felt before. A calm, deep content in my heart that washed over my whole body.
I guess twelve months in one place would do that to you, right? But maybe it’s more then that. Maybe I finally found my place.
I have my family. I have my city. And yet I am filled with an anxiousness. Am I committed here? How long is this home- for now, forever? Will it be home if we move away – the ‘home city’ that we return to connect with old friends? I’m anxious that we have a lease for another 12 months and no answer to my questions. But I suppose that’s life. I know how unlikely it is to find a place that answers and fulfills all your needs.
So for now, I’m taking comfort in what I do know about home. To me, in this season, home is family. Home is working together and fighting together and dreaming together. Home is genuinely loving where you live; driving down the road with the same view you always see and forgetting to breathe because what’s there is so lovely. Home is, dare I say it, Netflix at night and singing to a ukulele together during the day. Home is watching my baby grow and learn before my eyes, who attempts to whisper and give sloppy kisses.
And who knows how in a year this home will transform, what changes I might see in the very definition of ‘home’. But I’m looking forward to another year of growth and struggle and love in this place.
I need to know – what’s your definition of home? Please share in the comments and let’s have a conversation.