Are we there yet?
In the midst of a(nother) house-move, I contemplate where is our next home? And, indeed, what defines it?
In the packing of the things, I posted stuff to family members. Inherited stuff I realised wasn’t mine to guard or hoard, especially if I didn’t use it. I posted stuff back to people who had left it at my place when they’d come to visit. And I disposed of anything that wasn’t treasured or used regularly. Every day I donated bags of stuff to the charity shop. Well, at least one bag, often a bag and numerous other items that didn’t fit in the bag(s).
Because the endless stuff doesn’t make it a home.
All the clichés, Home is where the heart is, Home is where you lay your hat etc don’t even scratch the surface of what home really means. In the recent doco Filthy Rich and Homeless, five wealthy people volunteered to live on the streets of Melbourne for 10 nights. Despite the experiment set for a finite period of time and the intention behind the TV show to highlight the plight of Homeless people, the very quick decline in the states of mental health of the volunteers was surprising. These volunteers had lights at the end of their tunnels of homelessness, and opulent lifestyles to return to after the experiment, but their psyches broke. They had support workers and health professionals check in on them, as well as a camera crew following them around. But there was something about not having a base, nor a lifeline to familiarity, even temporarily, that affected them deeply.
So what is Home?
Where is Home?
Is Home even a geographical location? Maybe the feeling of Home runs deeper?
What I aspire for my family is for Home being where we’re safe. Safe to make mistakes. Safe to say “sorry”. Home is where it is safe to grow. Home is a soft spot to land. Home is where we get to to have a voice and be heard. Home is where we work through things to resolve them Home is where we’re accepted for our imperfections.
But, it starts with self. If you can’t accept your own imperfections, and then project that something (or everything) is someone else’s ‘fault’, or complain about someone else without addressing them, then that’s not a safe environment for growth. And that is how Home is where the love is. Home is where you love yourself enough to own your mistakes and grow. To love yourself enough to leave when you’re stifled and there’s no other way through.
There is always an autobiographical element I bring to my children’s stories, Peanut, on a mission to find his place in the world. So, are we there yet? In the finding of a new house to live, we’re here, exactly where we’re meant to be, even temporarily. I found Home is an inside job, not a just a physical locale, transient or otherwise.