Write a short story (600 – 1000 words max) that describes your sense of home and the values and stories that you use to connect yourself to your home and respond to all comments on your blog.
I am a child of divorce. The statement sounds harsh and sad, but in reality it has given me a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice as a young child to not have to go back and forth between my parents. I never was able to go far in any given hobby because I could only participate every other week (my parents lived about an hour apart). I spent a lot of time packing and unpacking. However, the constant moving around has given me a few skills that have helped me out in life and one that I am very grateful for; my ability to be comfortable anywhere. I don’t need personal pictures or specific people to feel at home.
My parents divorced before I was two and were both in serious relationships by the time I was 5. That meant not only was I going in-between my mom and my dad’s house, but I was also spending nights at their partners houses, my grandparents or my now step grandparents homes. On top of that my father had a condo where we went some weekends to ski in the winter and a cottage in the summer. While I did have a “home base” at my mother’s house, I lived a majority of my life out a suitcase. Don’t get me wrong, I know I was fortunate to have so much family and the ability to escape to the cottage or the condo for a weekend. But the result was, as a child I spent very few consecutive nights anywhere. For a while when I was in elementary school I felt like I didn’t have a home. I knew I had shelter, food, clothing and a bed but I never felt like I had a home, like one I could picture as my “home sweet home” that I craved after a long day. At that young age I didn’t even really know what that entailed, I just knew I didn’t feel it. It was never something that brought overwhelming sadness or anxiety, rather it was more of a curious observation. What I did know was, no matter which parent, house or location I was in, every day I needed some all me alone time to be with just myself.
In high school, as I became more social and began having sleep overs at friends’ houses, I spent even fewer nights in the same place. Oddly enough, this is when I started to figure out what a “home sweet home” meant to me. I remember distinctly when I realized, my father and I were having a conversation over tea one night before bed (a ritual of ours). He asked me if I felt like a bit of a nomad, with no real home. When I thought about it I said “no”. I actually just felt like I had a lot of homes. I have the ability to get comfortable and determine a home base almost instantly. All I need for a place to feel like home is my own space. It does not need to be big. One time my home base was a bunk bed with a curtain you could pull across for privacy in a hostel. It was the farthest thing from fancy, but it brought me the same comfort that my true home base gave me. If I spend more than one night in a location I very quickly not only call it my home, but really let it feel that way.
I must admit, I feel a little strange not saying home is where my family is or where my friends are. It is not like I don’t love my family, we are actually quite close and speak every day. I have amazing friends. I just do not need specific people by my side to feel like home. The ability to make anywhere home has afforded me great opportunities. I went to school in Europe for my grade 12, not seeing my family for 8 months and not knowing a soul at the school I attended. I adjusted easily and unlike my colleagues who spent the first month adjusting, the only time I was homesick was Christmas morning (I didn’t go back home to Ontario). I went to UBC despite having grown up in Ontario, having no family in BC and once again not knowing a soul at UBC. I was the youngest at overnight camp 3 years in a row and I never needed to call my parents. I don’t really get home sick. Because ‘home’ to me is really just a state of mind. As a result of that I can dive into opportunities head first and not be distracted. So while being a child of divorce would not have been my first choice (I’m sure others in my shoes can agree), it is also not the worst thing. I think it forced me to be independent and comfortable no matter where I am. I feel at home where I can be comfortable and have my own quiet time.