Lately, as we have been preparing for our big move, I started thinking about the idea of home. We’ve been living in the Boston area for a long time. This is where our relatives and friends live, where everything is familiar and filled with memories. But does it mean Boston is my home? Does it mean that I am now about to leave my home and go to some strange new place? Will life be difficult in the new place, will I feel sad and lonely? Will I call the new place home?
I have moved a few times in my life, and though I had glimpses of nostalgia and warm memories about places I left behind, those feelings faded quickly. I only maintain connections to people, not places. My idea of home is not associated with a particular house or place, but with the people I love. When I look at the faces of my husband and children, I remember that they are the ones I call “home.”
This mindset made me very adaptable to changes. For me, a physical home is nothing more than a living space. If I believe that a new place will be more conducive to my family’s well-being, I can move without a second thought. Memories, familiarity, habit, and other things that keep other people settled in one place are not important to me. After all, it’s just a place. Home is where my family is.
Will I be comfortable in the new location enough to call it home? Some people don’t feel at home where they live, because they can’t get used to the culture or the weather, because they can’t speak the language, or because in the old place they had a better job. Many families are miserable and split up because one family member wants to move and another one wants to stay. But we live in an increasingly mobile world, so with time my perception of home has become more fluid. Even if I live somewhere for a long time, I stop calling it home the minute my family and I leave. I go where my family goes, and the new place becomes my new home.
We’ve decided to move because, after a lot of research and contemplation, we believe that the new place will be better for us. Yes, in the new place we may face other challenges and difficulties, but I don’t define home as a place where I feel comfortable or where life is easier. There’s no perfect place, so it doesn’t really matter where we are going and what we are leaving behind. Geographical locations don’t matter. As long as I bring my favorite people with me, I can build a home even in the middle of nowhere. So I have no doubt that I will call the new place home, just like I’ve called Boston home all these years.
Of course, the people we leave behind matter. We have some dear friends here whom we’ll miss immensely. But we will love these friends just the same, no matter where we are. And our friends know that nothing will change for them, that our home remains the same warm place where they are always welcome. This is because home is not where we live, but who we love.