Home is just an idea.
But it’s an idea that we have all but made a necessity. It grounds us in a sense of belonging and purpose and destination and return all at the same time. We’re at home in a city, in a house, with a parent, with a child, with the loves of our lives.
We fluctuate between two extremes: cast off all concepts of stabilization and don’t root too deeply anywhere, or root so deeply that you never quite get away entirely. You’re always drawn back to another responsibility, another job, another requirement that you made for yourself by convincing yourself that it was made for you.
I am a field of conundrums, but chief among them may be the fact that I need to move around to feel sustained — for work or to see new cities or hike new mountains or what-have-you — but at the same time, I’m more comfortable in the known. I get homesick almost immediately.
Every time I’m trying to mentally comfort myself enough to fall asleep in a tent or in a friend’s guest room or on a foreign couch, I find that I have to place myself in the moment, and make it home, even just for a second.
It’s what you have to do in your body, because it’s only home for a little while. It’s what you have to do when you’re stationed in a city that isn’t your own for a year or two, when you can’t be with someone you love, when you have to take a three-week-long trip and immediately feel removed from the sanctity of your space. It’s how you mentally train yourself to be comfortable while continually stepping out of your comfort zone.
At the end of the day, you don’t know that home is where you came from and where you’re eventually returning to. Maybe home is somewhere you’ve never been before, somewhere you’re going to find along the way. Somewhere that feels more comforting and right than you even knew to seek out before you stumbled upon it.
Even the home you reside in now was once an uncharted territory.
Home is where you take yourself. Home is Earth. Home is the love of your life. Home is a stranger. Home is the night sky. If you can accept these truths that coexist with one another, the more adaptable you make yourself in a world that is, above all else, impermanent, and the better adjusted you’ll be.
So when you pack your favorite book, you carry your morning ritual and nightly regimen with you, when you haul a talisman of your hometown, sleep in your college sweatshirt, stow away cards with your mom’s perfume on them, you feel at home because anywhere is home. It’s just how you mentally implant yourself.
And really, all of life is a game of convincing yourself you’re at home: in your body, with a person, in a place, for a moment. Every one of those things will pass as well. The point is that nothing is permanent here, not even the soundest of “homes.” It’s just an idea. It’s just an illusion. It changes as we choose for it to.