By Darren Lum
The past few years I’ve fully realized my middle-age chapter of life.
I have the longer than what used to be normal for my thirties recovery time to feel 100 per cent from mountain bike rides and trail runs. Scars don’t seem to heal like they used to and indigestion is a factor when perusing a menu.
Part of this time has included consideration for what is the idea of what home is.
Is it the conventionally understood idea: The house with a white picket fence, partner, child and pet. I’m sure in this day and age the idea is a variety of answers, which is a good thing. Particularly since I don’t have any of these tings.
I still wonder if home is a physical place? A concept? A feeling? Is it all of these things?
Maybe at its foundation home needs to be any place where you feel safe from the world when it all seems to not be going well. It’s a place where those you are with don’t make you feel small or shut you out with walls, but open their heart. So, perhaps it’s anywhere a person or persons feels safe and comfortable with who they are. All the good. All the bad. And everything in-between. I don’t know for sure. It’s an idea.
There’s plenty of often used idioms about home: “Home is where the heart is” and “home sweet home.”
Can home be lost, so by that logic is it something you just find then?
I believe it’s something you have to create. You build it like a house, with a subframe of trust and belief, but the bricks of love need the mortar of care, compassion and understanding to bind them. Happiness isn’t so much a requisite, as it is a byproduct of the atmosphere created in a home.
At my age, I’ve spent more time away from my childhood home, which was created by my parents, than where I am now. So, is the Highlands my home?
What I know for certain is that there can’t be a home without a feeling of belonging, whether it’s the acceptance of the people that I share space with like planets in the a solar system.
That would rule out home being any one particular physical place and more of a feeling in the mind where you feel safe and accepted. It’s an idea.
So, perhaps, home is within us all. It’s not a place. It’s not anything tangible. It’s something we all can carry within ourselves and can share wherever we go. Home can be a tent on a backpacking trip. Home can be a vehicle, carrying dreams for a better life. I think I ascribe to the idiom, “Home is where you hang your hat.”
With how difficult it is to get housing now, I believe it’s more important than ever to value what we have. Whatever it is.
Whether it’s the three-bedroom house that is silent from the absence of children long gone to adult lives, which is owned by the retired couple, comfortable with routine; the single-bedroom house for the bachelor, content with takeout and always ready for hunting season; the basement apartment for the woman that is happy alone with memories and a future full of passion, and the sublet room rented by the young adult, eager to fulfill a vision of opportunities. These are all homes to them. I don’t own a house, but I know what home is and its within me, always, wherever I am.