Home is a concept that can be elusive for some people. It may exist as a concrete entity, a house in a particular town in a particular country. For others, it may be a loose collection of memories and first-times; the place where you took your first steps, where you had your first kiss, or where you experienced your first failure. It’s that place where the streetlamps have their particular glare and where even the air you breathe is your own. It’s a place where, every time you come back, it makes you feel a certain way.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to pinpoint exactly where home is, and every so often something you thought was your home becomes stagnant or even obsolete. What was the moment when you come home only to find that it had all changed?
Maybe it was the moment when your childhood friend became just another number in your phone. Nostalgic for the days and nights where all you did was confess your secrets to one another, now you consciously have to make an effort to keep them in your life, sometimes having to force yourself to admit that friendships come and go.
Was it the moment when you came back for the first time in months, only to find that your childhood bedroom felt like another person’s life? Bare and forlorn, it seemed to be something from another era, an era in which you felt different things and pictured different dreams.
Or maybe it was the moment you realised you had grown up, away from the place you used to protect and cherish like a priceless treasure. It’s not your fault; you’ve met other people and seen other places, while it stayed behind, motionless, patiently waiting for you to come back exactly as you were.
Home is not only the furniture you collect or the floors you walk on. It’s a feeling, a sense of place. Home is made of experiences – the kindness of loving parents, tear-stained arguments with friends, and moments that changed who you thought you were. But most of all, home is a place where memories are forever sheltered, set in stone until you need to call upon them the most.
Some are lucky enough to have a home away from home, somewhere that feels like just enough of a substitute for the faithful walls they left behind. Sentimental postcards and faded photographs, muted from wear, stick to the wall; memories serving to enfold us and cradle our longing for familiarity. Such precious pieces of paper remind us that, even though this may be a new and different place, it’s not so bad here.