A sunrise, a hot cup of coffee, and a wild kitten frolicking around my apartment is my typical morning. As I declutter, toss, and work to sell all of my belongings to move across the country next month, I find myself flooded with memories of everything I now have to let go of. The peace of my own space, the people I’ve met, the home I created for myself, and ironically, spent the past 4 months re-furnishing, only to have to get rid of it all.
Home has always been a touchy word for me. Having grown up in an unsafe environment and spending my adolescent years couch-hopping from one friend’s space to another’s, my younger self couldn’t even begin to dream of the life I have now. I had a hunger for stability and a safe space to come back to, day after day. Who could have imagined that one day I would?
I like to think of myself as an overly-prepared-leaver. Before I’ve arrived anywhere, I’m already planning where I’ll be going next. Having trained myself to think of each place as a temporary one for living, I didn’t think I was capable of staying put. It took me three and a half years to actually furnish the apartment I’ve been living in so that it feels like home. Why bother creating a comfortable space when I know I’m going to go?
I found, funnily enough, as much as I craved stability, staying in one place for too long also began to make me feel trapped. Life is annoying that way. Vacillating from wanting a home to craving exploration left me tangled and lost, time and time again. How can I intertwine a nomadic way of living with a sense of stability?
Letting go of a life you created really forces you to reflect on how you would like to live moving forward. What I’ve been unpacking now is my definition of home, and with that comes a host of ideas for what I would like it to mean for myself. Stability and security don’t necessarily have to equate to trapping yourself. Enjoying exploration and moving around doesn’t have to mean you are flighty.
Finding a home within myself has always felt unmanageable. It was easy to label my moody nature and restlessness as unreliable. It was even easier to attach my grounding to the people around me, the city I lived in, the array of books that flooded my space, the job I had, and the amount of money I made. The irony of this perceived stability is that it attaches your sense of security along with that which can be taken away from you in an instant.
What I’m interested in now is the idea of home being a fluctuating concept. Maybe we can define it by what we need at this moment of our lives to feel safe. Right now, what that looks like for me is: a support system around me, writing, and my kitten, Frida. If I have all those things, I’ll feel at home. Maybe that will expand as I move forward, or maybe that’s all I have ever needed. Maybe I won’t necessarily need to be physically next to my support system, later on, maybe I’ll want to be closer to a creative community. But I think predicting what I “might need at some point” seems counterproductive. This is simply what I need in this moment of my life, and so that is what I choose to move towards.