The Meaning of Home

The Meaning of Home

At first look, it appears obvious that we can see what is happening in our current housing market. People are losing or selling their homes and moving onto other abodes. Whether it’s by choice or necessity, homeowners are adapting because they have to. What’s not apparent is the hidden tsunami of emotion that hits us as we come face to face with redefining what home means.

In my grandparent’s life, they expected to save and purchase a home they would stay in for years. They’d raise their families, and once the children moved to homes of their own they’d continue to return for holidays and festivities and the parents would stay at the same address as long as they were able. (yes, I am that bundle of joy in the center of that picture, taken on my grandparents porch in Kingston Ontario, August 1965. My grandparents – all 5 in this picture – are gone but my aunt, sitting bottom right, still lives there today.)

My parents initially thought the same but divorce and job transfers necessitated moving a couple of times in their lives. There is no one place for us all to gather as a family for special occasions as we’re spread across countries and multiple provinces.

In my adult life I’ve moved every seven years and expected to “buy up” with each move. As the houses got larger, so did the expenses but the job pool became smaller. We had to search farther and wider for positions that would support the lifestyle we’d become accustomed to.

The current economy has resulted in people being forced to re-evaluate what’s important, I saw it when talking real estate options with owners. I see it in my own life. I love my house but it’s become a burden of never ending bills, maintenance and work. Once my kids graduate and move onto their own lives, it will be too large for me and I’ll say goodbye to it.

Although change is rarely comforting, this re-evaluation phase has been welcomed into my life. I’m becoming hyper-focused on what makes a home special to me and I’ve realized, it has nothing to do with how big it is or how much it’s worth – or not worth these days! Instead, my definition of home has more to do with how I feel about it, what I see when I look out my window, the comfort I find inside, and most importantly, the memories, relationships & experiences that exist within the walls. Home has nothing to do with “belongings” and everything to do with emotion.

Homes should adapt with us, as they have beginning in the womb and ending upon the earth. In between, homes should support who we are rather than compete with other areas of our lives. So many of us worked to support our bigger house habit that other areas of our lives were lacking. How many people did you know who bought a monster home but couldn’t afford to furnish all the rooms? I knew many.

Maybe i’m a rolling stone
Who won’t amount to much
But everything that i hold dear
Is close enough to touch

My next home will likely be small and mobile.

Has this housing market changed what you thought you wanted in a home? What does “home” mean to you?

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