As hard as this is to say, before coming to college, I was not as close to my family as many of my friends were. Don't get me wrong, I would share almost-everything with my mom, have wonderful conversations with my father, and play "FIFA 14" with my older brother. But when the opportunity came to have a family movie night or get lunch with my brother, my answer tended to be no. It just didn't appeal to me.
Being two years younger than my brother, I watched him go off to college and get closer to our parents because of it. Stuck in high school, I desperately wanted to reap that same reward. He would tell me how incredible college is and that it changed how he thought of home. I didn't really understand what he meant, but after my first semester it clicked.
When I went home for winter break, I found myself eager to shop with my mom, talk fraternity with my dad, and grab pizza with my brother. Finally, I recognized them for the constancy and support system that they are. I guess my brother was right; College does change how we think of home, and perhaps it isn't a place at all.
A famous proverb reads,
"Your home will always be the place for which your feel the deepest affection, no matter where you are."
For me, I am home when I am with my family. With them, everything else melts away—anxiety, doubt, fear of judgement. I leave these things at the door. My home is synonymous with acceptance and nourishment. It is the place I feel most comfortable.
Home can move, too. It is not permanent or stationary. No, home is a fluid thing, fluctuating with each direction life takes us. Though I've always felt at home with my family, even before coming to college, it was this new distance that created a deeper connection. It took feeling homesick to find my home.
Another thing to think about is the difference between a house and a home. A house is a structure; It has walls and a roof over our head. A home, however, is different; It is more personal. Houses become homes when they breed comfort and radiate love. My house could burn down and I'd still have a home—my family. Take them away, and I'd truly be homeless.
The other day, I asked my friend, "Where do you feel at home?" He responded with, "My best friend's couch." He then went on to say, "I don't really know why, but I heard 'home' and immediately thought of that couch." It's incredible how differently he thinks of home. Perhaps, for him it is a place.
That's what is so eye opening. Home to you means something extraordinarily different than home to me. Take pride in this difference and hold close whatever it is you call home.
My brother graduates college in May. He landed an incredible job in Pittsburgh and is looking for a place to live. I can't help but think back to four years ago when I was still stuck in high school. Remember what my brother told me? College changes how we think of home.
I still want to ask him, "What about the real world? What happens to my home when I'm finished with college?" I won't, though. No, I will figure it out for myself.
For as long as I have my family, I will always find my way home.
Where do you feel at home?