A house is not a home because it’s a completely different place depending on the people who are living in it, and how they lived in it, and for how long. Everybody thinks that all the music and moments and memories stick around in the carpet stains and smudge marks on walls and that the place they grew up will smell the same forever and that coming back will always feel the same. None of that is really true though. Moments are collected in our hearts and souls and memories are all stored in our minds and the music rings in our ears whenever things are quiet for a little bit too long. Sometimes you outgrow the place you grew up in and sometimes the next place you move off too smells different and better and feels more right. It’s been said a million times that “Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling” and that “home is where the heart is” but I’m not sure if anyone realizes that going “home” could mean hopping on an airplane to a place that is more your favorite than it is familiar, or going back to the people who haven’t necessarily known us the longest, but know us the best. It could mean train stations early in the morning with a hot steaming coffee in your hand and a the feeling you get from a certain smiling stranger. Home could be a hug from a long lost acquaintance who will never know how important they are or when the air smells like christmas morning circa 2012 (but maybe it’s late october 2016, and you get this particular feeling in your gut and image in your head and the entire day is changed for the best and you are back there exactly the person you were that day, except maybe parts of you have changed for the best too and it’s a different feeling than nostalgia because you feel happy instead of haunted).
Home can’t really be people either though. We grow out of people too and move across the country from our best friends and leave every person from our pasts to see places we have never been. Home isn’t the childhood friends you had who turned into shitty teenagers and shittier adults or the arms of all the asshole boyfriends you had who thank god will never turn into your asshole husband someday. It’s not even the people we love the most right now, besides maybe our families. Home is love itself. It’s all the good feelings in the world that we have felt so many times but never once in the same way. It’s the feeling we got ages ago but forgot all about (like the first time someone liked us more than a friend, or the first time we decided our siblings weren’t the epitome of evil, or that our parents aren’t either, or the first time we enjoyed coffee or decided a song was our absolute favorite or that life was going to be ok. It’s the feelings we think we will never get again but then we do (like being in love or being loved). Home is the moments and music and the memories and it’s the feelings that certain people might have given us and feelings that happened in certain places. But when we miss things (people and places) what we are really missing is the way they made us feel. And that’s why you can still feel homesick after you reunite with someone who used to mean everything and gave you the best feelings of your life or after going back to all the places where the good parts happened.
I have grown and changed my way out of a lot of people and places but it’s strange that somehow we never grow out of feelings. Sure you might not play the same song on repeat as you did freshman year of highschool, or want to go on a date with someone who things didn’t work out with, or want to live in your hometown forever or maybe even ever again, but we will chase and cherish those same special feelings for the rest of forever. We will carry them with us and find them in the most unsuspected places and we will make countless homes everywhere we go until we realize someday that home is a thing inside of us, the only thing we will always have, and all those moments and memories and the feelings we got from the good parts and places and people that made us safe, comfortable, and engulfed in love and bliss, are here for us to recreate whenever, wherever, we need them.
I have lived in probably 15 houses in my lifetime and they all felt like home for the time that I was there, have maybe had 20 different people who I considered to be my best friends at one time or another, and have let my heart rent some space in about 2-3 guys I could have sworn I would always love. But my dorm room 2 years ago felt more homey than a certain rented house, the people I consider my best friends and family will never necessarily be the people I see or talk to the most, and I have met a people for the first time and felt more at home than I ever did with guys I spent years of my life with. Every person and place is temporary. Home is always around, it’s everywhere if you look for it. Home is how it feels to call your little sister to see how she’s doing, to stay up all night with your best friends, to wake up next to someone you love, or to sit down and eat dinner with your whole family at once, or to sit quietly with yourself thoughts in a place you never could have imagined you would be but everything makes sense somehow.
I am my own home and nobody owns me and my home is probably different than yours. My home is so full of love that it could explode if I didn’t share it with anyone and there’s dancing around kitchens and singing in showers and shouting out of car windows and smiling at strangers. My home is the way it’s always easier to breathe in the fall and the way end of May will forever sound like pop-punk music and taste like parking-lot nips. It’s how december will always feel more cozy and comfortable and warmer to me than July and how there will never be too many coffee dates or kisses to fill the empty parts of life up with. My home is the way this big comfy couch feels and also wine nights and anywhere you can spot a sunflower or a sunset over an ocean and it’s every second that it rains in the city. It’s being surrounded with people who know what’s important and what’s not and it’s unconditional love. It’s feeling out of place and going on a trail run or writing everything down and immediately feeling back to where I belong without going anywhere. Home is a feeling and I can go there whenever I want.