DAY 19, SEPTEMBER 14
Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going. More and more of us are rooted in the future or the present tense as much as in the past. And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.
THE MANY RENDERINGS OF HOME
This post started niggling at me around the same time all the usual emotions started to surface around my annual trip back to the motherland. It got me thinking about home from a different perspective; what it means, where it is, what it feels like; all the woo-woo stuff.
Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve struggled with calling this place home. Sorry Vancouver, it’s not your fault. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE it here. It’s where I live, but Newfoundland is the place I’ve referred to as home. If anyone asks me where I’m from, which happens a lot in a transient place like this, I am a proud Newfoundlander. Technically, I don’t know if I can say that Newfoundland isn’t home anymore. SO if Vancouver isn’t home, and Newfoundland isn’t home, where is it?
For four years I’ve (un)consciously tried not to accumulate too many belongs, not to keep too much ‘stuff’. I’ve downsized enough that I could sell everything I own within a months notice if I wanted to. I’ve been afraid to commit to this being my home. Doing so felt too permanent. For frig sakes, it took me 3 years to commit to buying a record player and a portable bbq, even that made me uneasy.
You see when life got really rocky a few years ago I, more or less, ran away from home – or life may be a better way to put it. I sold most of my things, gave the rest away and uprooted my life to start over on the other side of the country. I was in search of a new place to call home, or at least hiding and healing until that home found me.
Now, over four years later, it’s time for me to transition. To shift out of survival mode. I have a growing desire to build a home, to put roots down (well …maybe to do a little travel first ;)).
So, is there a difference between where you live and how we define home?
Where do you come from? A simple question with an evermore complicated answer.
HOME – THE STRUCTURE
The four walls in which we live. Our sanctuary, our comfort zone, the place we find refuge. This is the place we make safe, where we lay our head at night. This is a present moment look at the meaning of home. It’s the day-to-day rendering. Physical, maybe a little materialistic. Often replaceable, very transferrable.
I’ve had a lot of homes over the years; my parent’s house, my first apartment, my first house, and my countless apartments and resting places in between. Some I have strong feelings for, some I barely remember.
A very short-sighted look at home.
HOME – OUR ORIGINS
The land from which we come. I’m Canadian, I’m a Newfoundlander (and Labradorian). Because of that, I have certain values, beliefs, behaviors and expectations. I have aspirations about what life should be like and opinions from society on what life ‘should be’ like. I have certain norms, dialects, and obligations.
As our world becomes more nomadic, this definition of ‘home’ becomes a lot more blurry. It becomes a marker of the past, of where we came from, similar to ancestry. It is no longer enough to use put all our eggs in the ‘geographical home’ basket.
The attributes we take from this rendering certainly make up a portion of the foundation on which we build our home. But it doesn’t represent the entire structure.
HOME – THE EXPERIENCE COLLECTIVE
An outside-in perspective. It’s the collection of people you encounter, the experiences you have, the situations you are in. It’s the love and the heartache, the laughter and the tears, the good times and the bad. It represents the pieces some people have chipped away at and the patches others have tried to repair.
HOME – THE PLACES YOU BECOME YOURSELF
In the Ted Talk entitled WHERE IS HOME, Pico Iyer closes with a powerful statement, that home is the place where you stand.
This is the “wherever you go, there you are” stuff. The view that home is the sum of all the parts. The place you craft your own identity. Where you keep the parts from your past and your experiences you want to build on and explore more and leave the rest. You learn to just be where you are on this earth. It’s where you can be you, for however long or short. It is where you learn to just be. To stand still. To be you. It is your place on this earth for as long as you want to stay.
SO WHERE IS HOME?
It’s right here, right where I am. It seems it has been here all along.
It’s taken me over 4 years to come to this place. But this place has been home all along, just as much as Newfoundland is home. Vancouver is where I learned to stand on my own, to heal, to be vulnerable, to be enough.
As I look to start travel more, exploring and immerse myself in self-discovery, it’s comforting to know that home is right where I choose to be at any given moment.
Movement is a fantastic privilege, and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go to. And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand. ~Pico Iyer
Pico’s Ted Talk from 2013: