A few years ago, I found myself stuck at Heathrow airport for about 48 hours because of a snowstorm.
Needless to say, the experience was not fun and as I look back now, I realize that there’s probably no such place as an airport at a critical time to better understand the importance of a home. Just think of last Thanksgiving flights cancellations. You witness people literally loosing it, breaking down in tears just through the nerve racking process of trying to understand why all of sudden the elements have turned against them.
And in times like these, the only thing we want more than a tropical storm is our home. The idea that a bed made of fresh linens and comfy pillow is waiting for us and that we won’t have to spend another night crouching down on our suitcase, the bench or for better luck the floor becomes our life rack. In times like these, we understand that our home is more than a place.
Here are six reasons why.
1. It’s a new beginning
As Millenials we like the idea that the world is within our reach. We want to appreciate life and whatever it can give us. We’ve pretty much all been there, that situation you find yourself when you decide it’s about time you get a taste of sweet independence. You want to take a break away from home, find yourself a new place somewhere very far (or not) and turn it into your new temporary home. You want to meet new people, outside of your comfort zone. Basically you want to start all over, and (often) all from scratches. And above all, you want that lovely place of your own where you won’t have to deal with any house rules at all but yours.
2. It provides you with a sense of stability
You just graduated from college or you just got back from a trip around the world. You’ve met tons of people, you’ve all became Facebook friends and promised to keep in touch no matter the distance. Now you finally found yourself a job, or at least you’ve decided on the city you wanted to start looking for job. Your bags are packed, your ticket is booked and your heart’s full of expectations. You are ready to start looking for that place that’s is going to look just like you, in that area that will so have whatever you are looking for and that soon enough, you’ll find yourself calling “your neighborhood”. Or given your financial situation, you’ll just keep your fingers crossed and hope to find at least one of the items listed previously.
3. You’re not afraid to spend money on your place because it’s an investment
So you start spending (way too much) time on decoration just to turn your new home into your sweet home. You’ve downloaded Ikea’s catalog, perhaps you’ve even drawn out a map of your flat so to know which furniture to buy and where to place it. You became addicted to these TV shows on house makeovers and you’re not afraid to spend all that cash on it.
You don't tell yourself that this is money that you could spend elsewhere because you know you're now looking at it as an investment. This is necessary since this situation is no longer temporary. Feeling comfortable in your place has become more important than buying clothes, or going out for dinner and perhaps even going out at all. You changed your priorities.
4. It becomes a part of you
For a long time, I couldn’t really see the difference between a house and a home. Both words pretty much meant the same thing, that is basically a place built on solid ground, with walls, furniture and a roof over your head. All these details are supposed to be a reflection of your personal taste – or financial situation, saying perhaps much more about you in the blink of an eye than any of your social media profiles. Beyond the idea that a home should be made of wood, concrete or whatever material you like, there’s a sense of belonging that lies beneath the whole concept of shelter. You want it to become your safe haven, a place you can think of in times of sorrow or whenever you feel like life is challenging you a bit too hard. It’s about all the little things that remind you of a good memory, a happy place in your life. And sometimes, it doesn’t have to be about a place, it can also be about people.
5. You know you can come as you are
The great Maya Angelou once wrote:
‘The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned’.
Very often in life, we found that we truly know what we miss once it’s no longer there. You get that feeling whenever you start a new job or when you’re introduced to a group of complete strangers. You need a little time to adjust and to figure out how to behave, you don’t really know if you’ll fit in and if you’ll be accepted as you are. And when things don’t really work out, we start longing for the ones really close to our heart and that make our world go round. The people whose presence makes you feel like you belong there.
So, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you are miles away from your birthplace your childhood home, or any place you’ve always known. Your best memories will always be within you and that’s much closer than any place in the world.
6. Your past homes will help you find the next one.
One of the very first questions you get when meeting someone new is often about your home. Where are you from? Which state is that?
How a simple location can define years of your existence and the experiences in-between? After all, it really isn’t more than your starting point in life and whatever happened from there defines you much more as a person. And then it hits you. It’s not about the distance that separates you from your home. Whatever situation you’re in, it will always feel temporary until you find the place you truly belong to but it doesn’t mean that whatever happens in the meantime is a waste.
So don’t worry, it’s ok to struggle finding your way home. They all say that getting lost is part of the process.