Being that this week I am spending time in Northern & Southern California with my family, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on our ideas of home. By the age of 20, I think we all have had our fair share of contemplating what home means to us. (I'm 26 by the way.) I was born in a very very rural town in Northern California and moved to England at age 2. So most of my childhood was spent in England, growing up in a rural village of just a few hundred people with one village shop, a cow pasture, a church and a monument to a poet. At 8, my family moved to a different area in Northern California and my new hometown landscape transitioned abruptly from open rolling British hills to steep mountains filled with pine trees. It took me until high school to accept those pine scented hills as my home. And soon after coming to appreciate it as home, I was off to college.
I think college really forced me to recognize that throughout the rest of my life, home will have a variety of meanings for me. Home is where my family is. Home is the place I live and the space I create. Home is the memories I have created throughout my lifetime that remind me of comfort, family, and simple happiness. Home is one place that will never move found in the town my parents still reside, and home is in another place, in a radius of half an hour where my entire extended family lives in Southern California. Home travels with me every time I move which has been every 9-12 months for the past 8 years. Home is California and Seattle, WA. Home is so many things, so many locations. But beyond the spaces that "home" occupies for me, home is a million feelings, smells, tastes, sounds, sights and experiences. I know I will keep adding to this list over time. And with each things I add to my list, the more I will feel home with me in every thought.
I'm so grateful I can go home, home to my family in Northern & Southern California this week. I know I will feel so comforted and free in mourning when I am surrounded by family at my grandfather's funeral. And I will cherish the space of home in my grandparents house for perhaps one of the last times. I am very task oriented and I love rituals, so I look forward to visiting some of the places that remind me of my grandparents, the places we would eat together, the places we would hangout together. Every familiar road around my grandparents hood of Long Beach reminds me of them and reminds me of home, whether it is lined with gorgeous perfectly manicured lawns or whether its a sketchy street with a donut shop and a pawn shop. A place doesn't have to be perfect to represent something sweet and special to you. And that goes for all elements of memory I think. Things don't have to be perfect and pretty and fancy to be valuable and memorable. Sweet memories of home can be shaped in so many forms, from the sound of crickets to the taste of chicken pot pie. Home is such a powerful word, and no matter whether you grew up rich or poor, I know each one of us has something sweet we hold onto that reminds us of our homes.
Contemplate the things that remind you of the deep sense of home and write those things down this week. I bet you'll find a few sweet memories you haven't thought of in awhile popping up while you write your list this week. Free yourself from any bad memories you may have and focus on those little things you have cherished as elements of home over the years. Believe me, it will be comforting.
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