Thursday, April 17, 2014

Home is Wherever I'm with You

By Julie Baldwin

It's a funny topic Mary and Joy write about - home. I currently live 13 hours away from home - or is it my home town? Can one have multiple homes? I hope so.

My husband and I have been married for almost 16 months. The first six months, we continued to live apart (except on weekends) while he finished medical school in Louisville and I continued working in Cincinnati. Then, in June, we moved South to New Orleans. We had visitors three months later when our daughter was born, and then two home visits for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then a long drive back South, where we are staying till our move to Pennsylvania in June for residency (for three years!).

Almost 75 percent of Americans move every five years; that's about 40 million Americans per anum. I lived in three houses growing up; I'll have lived in three different places by my second wedding anniversary.

I grew up thinking I'd go to college, maybe work/live in Washington, D.C. for a few years, and then live the remainder of my days in Cincinnati. Now the possibility of never returning to my home town is just as possible as returning. My husband's family is much more transient, so he's far more open to moving where the weather suits him. I'd like to be close to family and friends, at least reasonably. I'll get my way in Pennsylvania.

It's time for me to re-evaluate what "home" means, and how I can best cultivate a lovely one for my husband, our baby daughter, and myself.

Home is where you live.

The place you sleep, the place you eat, the place you come back to day after day, or maybe the place you try to avoid cabin fever. This is the place you pay for: property, electric, heat, water, rent/ mortgage. This is the place you fill with furniture, entertain guests and fall asleep at night. It's home because it's your space.

Home is where you belong.

Whether or not you picked the space, you belong in your home. Not at your friend's house or lounging by your neighbor's pool. You and your space belong to each other, even when one is cracking. The familiarity between you two grows each day and you start to think, I feel home. I am home.

Home is where you are safe.

Home should be a place of serenity and sanity. At the end of the day, you are glad you are home. (Even if you never left!) Families should prefer to be together at home (barring a special event), and to build each other up in a positive way. If you live alone or with roommates, home should be an environment of active love of self and neighbors.

Home is where you create.

Homes are a chance to have fun with color, the geometrics of arranging furniture and belongings, and explore the unused corners of possibility. Your home is a potential greenhouse with flowers in a vase or herbs on the counter, and an area where you can dream and play. You create the ambiance, not your belongings - how you arrange, how you store, how you present, and what you display. Your home may be an office, have a play area, and more small - but mighty. Or maybe your home is overwhelmed: time to simplify. It's never too late to create your home anew.

Home is where you love.

Where you invest your love, you invest your life.

Home is the action center of life. Creating beauty in the home is a pathway to love, as is fixing meals, chores, enjoying the ambiance and respecting the occupants. Home is where traditions are started and continued, DIY projects get checked off the list, work is done, and prayers are said. Homes can be holy, when we invest our time and love.

What does home mean for you?

1 comment:

  1. i think about this so much. until college, i had also always lived in one place, wilmington (just a hop and a skip from cinci!), and kind of always expected to live in that general area after college. two states, one country, and soon yet another state later (where we'll be for 5 years), it's really sinking in that, hey, this is my life. i'll be like, 32 by the time we move again! emotionally, i find the hardest part being that i feel like i've left pieces of myself all over the place, and with so many different people. we're preparing for that again, and it gets overwhelming thinking of starting over, forging new relationships, and hoping that somehow new friends will be able to get a real picture of who you are despite the fact that there are parts of you all over the world. the more tangible difficulty for me is putting down roots. it's hard to allow yourself to invest in a place and people when you know you're not there indefinitely. thanks for writing about this topic! i love your thoughts on specifically what "home" can and should mean.


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