Notions of Home

Notions of Home ~

We all know the phrase, ‘Home is Where the Heart Is’.  But, is it really?  And, whose heart? When your 30-year old, who lives in Chicago, because that’s where he went to college but grew up in Philadelphia, says he’s coming home this weekend, do you inquire as to which home he refers?  I’ll bet when he’s out hanging at his local bar on a Friday night, and at about 3 a.m., he tells his buddies he’s going home.  Of course, he means to his apartment on S. Hyde Park Boulevard.

‘Home’ is defined as the place where one lives. For example, once I moved out at age 21 into an apartment in New Brunswick, NJ (an hour from where I’d grown up, in Neptune, NJ), I never referred to that house as my home.  When I visited, I was visiting my parents.  And, I had had a lovely childhood, loved my neighborhood, Shark River Hills; I liked high school and had a wonderfully diverse group of friends. Definitely a place you’d call home.  But, I’d also made a new home.

I’ve had several New Jersey homes since then, too – Jackson, Bayville, Westmont and Cherry Hill.  I almost, before New Brunswick, moved to a 3rd floor walk-up at 17th & 3rd in New York City.  I would have loved to call New York my home.

So, when the heart is not also where you lay your head, some might say that something must be missing.  Should we feel sad for those who only consider their hometown their home. That feeling of being home, of being at home, is key to our being ourselves and of being able to be present in our present life and surroundings and environment. Being mindful of all that makes our house our home, including our neighbors, our kids’ schools, our libraries, movie theaters, friends’ houses, too, complements our notion of what is home.

Questions to consider:  where do you call home? where do you make your home? These could result in two very different responses. I hope, however, that they are the same. If not, is it worth considering how that can be resolved? Perhaps, yes, if it causes one to lose perspective in being present. If, however, ‘home’ is a feeling, warm and memorable, then who is anyone to judge that that is not adequate for a happy existence in present circumstances? Feelings are abstract, after all.

Some, in fact, say the notion of ‘home’ is really more of an abstract concept, anyway. So, some, then, are really lucky to have had many different homes in life, starting with their hometown. And, sadly, sometimes in life, it’s really just where you lay your head.


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Writing by Marnie Mitchell-Lister

DoubleU = W


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