“Where is home?”, the question so many of us dread… For those who perhaps left home for university and settled elsewhere again, then moved for work, this question can be tricky… For those whose time at ‘home’ in childhood was punctuated by frequent mobility, this question gets even harder. I propose we change the question.
Not “where is home?” but “what makes home?” Most of us have a little routine when we stay outside our home – a hotel room, or visiting a friend… Some of us dump bags and jump into the social ‘stuff’ of visiting. Others unpack – everything. I’m of the latter. I like to unpack and find a “home” for all my stuff so that I can feel really settled – even if I’m only staying for a while. If there aren’t drawers enough available then I reorganise my suitcase, so that I can access things comfortably. Even those of us who dump bags might have a “routine” that settles us in… its just that the social chatting and connecting acts as a settledness marker as opposed to the than the physical orientation of ourselves and our belongings.
When we move house, we have similar routines. Some of us have particular paintings or ornaments that, having arrived and been put in place, make “home”. For others of us, it’s books, the kettle (for those all important cups of tea!) and still others, it might be plants for the house or garden. For me, it’s baking. The first thing I try to do, once all the furniture is sorted and things put away, is to bake something. Something simple that fills the house with the smells of “home”. Growing up, convenience foods were not available, and if you wanted biscuits (or cookies!) you had to bake them. My mother always made sure of having baked somethings in the house, and this is what makes a house a “home” for me now. These little associations follow us, and echo through to our adult years…
What about you? Are you feeling “at home”? What makes home for you? For the highly mobile, loss of home, of origin is real. But I believe home can be built, constructed, grown and nourished. If we take this to be the case, what are would the foundations of that home look like for you? If you need a little help getting started on the build, let’s talk.