Brian is having a hard time sleeping at night. Our apartment isn’t home to him, but it isn’t completely foreign either. We’ve yet to hang anything up on the walls. We still pull open the wrong cupboard door when we need to grab a plate. We live here, but we don’t really live here. We stop by at the end of the day to shower and rest our heads, but we don’t identify with this place at all.
The hallway to our apartment
Selling our home and getting rid of our possessions has made us redefine what home means to us. Before, home was a place where we didn’t have to explain ourselves because, all around us, were artifacts of who we believed ourselves to be. Our decorations, our clothing, our photos, the paint on the walls, our books, the flowers we planted outside the windows, it was all us. Now, we live in a drab apartment with white walls and beige carpeting. More than once I have tried to open the door to our neighbors apartment because, in a hallway of creme colored doors, it’s hard to tell them apart.
It sounds bad but it’s not bad, really. What I’ve experienced since moving is an astounding sense of freedom. Because my things can no longer speak for me, I now have to speak for myself. I’ve had to hold my head up a bit more, square my shoulders, and feel proud of who I am even though I no longer own the things that I used to get clapped on the back for. Now, I am just me, and who I am must come from the inside. The exterior things that used to define me don’t exist anymore.
Why am I writing about this? It’s because I want you to know that the things that were so hard to give up just a few weeks ago are already forgotten. Even the things that I couldn’t bear to get rid of, the things I packed up and moved into our apartment, remain unpacked and are slowly making their way into the Goodwill pile. It’s shocking, really. I wouldn’t have expected it. What matters to me most right now, besides my husband and my dogs and the other crucial things like family, friends and health, are this blog, my journal, the clothes I wear regularly, my toiletries, and my running shoes.
Just a few weeks ago I had a different idea about home. Now, I think that home is a place that exists inside of us. Home is a feeling, a strong sense of identity, a certainty about who you are. It doesn’t have to be a roof over your head, it can be a path that you’re on. It can be a person, or a dream, or a river, or the way the clouds hang in the sky. Home is whatever it is that reminds you of who you are. Home is what’s left when everything else is stripped away.
On another note, while the apartment may be drab, Brian and I love the location. We can both bike to work in under 15 minutes. We can walk to restaurants and great bars and we live closer to almost all of our friends. We’ve been having a little too much fun lately!
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