Ever since I left my mother’s house I have been calling different places ‘home’. But recently I have been wondering – do all these homes actually deserve that name? What is ‘home’?
When I enter the house that I have spent most of my youth in, where all my old toys are stored and where tons of embarrassing pictures document every stage of my life, I feel comforted.
But when I take the keys for my London flat out of my bag and close that door behind me I feel free and independent.
And then there are a few places where I left a shirt, a toothbrush and a bottle of shampoo to return to whenever I visit.
But which of these places are homes? It clearly needs a new definition.
The new home
Christian Morgenstern defines home i.e. as “Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.”
Other quotes about home say that “Home is any four walls that enclose the right person” (Helen Rowland) or “Home is oneness, home is my original nature. It is right here, simply in what is“ (Tony Parsons).
These quotes suggest that the idea of home is not connected to where we are, but who we are and who we are with.
Author Sheila Weinstein on the other hand says that believing that home is within us might lead to the feeling of belonging nowhere.
That suggests that home cannot be solely in ourselves, but is connected to other people or even to places.
Sean Bonner has a fantastic 21st century idea of re-defining ‘home’:
Instead of having one set ‘home’, he suggests that people today have ‘multiple bases’ – places all over the world where they leave a few belonging, a few memories to come back to.
In times of travelling and global networking the idea of multibasing makes total sense.
But to me it deprives the idea of a ‘home’ of its feeling of cosiness, nostalgia and the process of constant personal growth.
I think the idea of ‘home’ is shifting towards the multibasing, but all the bases offer you different things: emotions, adventures, contacts, business, memories.
Therefore ‘home’ probably is a combination of several different aspects. Yourself and what’s inside you, the environment you and others create and live in and the people you are with.
But this notion also includes a new definition of homesickness. It would then mean that you can miss places, objects, people or even yourself (which I think it does nowadays).
I think that this new definition of ‘home’ is due to globalisation, as it means that home can be everywhere you choose.
Maya Angelou sums it up like this:
“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”