The Other Side of Home

by Kim on August 31, 2011 · 18 comments

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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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel August 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Oh my gosh, you guys are so ready for this. I love this post. I am coming back to this regularly once I have to start giving stuff up…it’ll help me realize it IS just stuff.

I keep trying to remember that when I left for my 10 week backpacking trip through Europe how hard it was to leave some stuff behind. And how much I wanted to get rid of 50% of what I brought with me about a week into it.

Love that you’re so close to more great experiences, too.
Carmel recently posted..Cultured Butter

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thanks Carmel. I was just backpacking this weekend and realizing even more how all you really need to make you happy is a warm place to lay your head, food to eat, and things to do that inspire you.

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Allison August 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Congrats, guys! It looks like you are moving in the right direction. You’ll start sleeping better soon and then you’ll be traveling the world. Well done!

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thanks Allison! Looks like Brian won’t be sleeping well for awhile- he just broke his collarbone and has to sleep sitting up on the couch!

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Deborah August 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I LOVE this post, Kim. It’s just gorgous and so poignant and moving. So much so that I’m swallowing hard against the lump in my throat.

This passage is one I liked particularly:

“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.”

Yes. I know I may sound Pollyanna or New Age Airy-Fairy when I say that you’ve traded four walls for the world but you really have. There’s a reason we say “Home is where the heart is.” (Because it’s IN your heart.)
Deborah recently posted..A Delicate Balance

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Deb, thanks once again for your kind comments and support.

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Tracy August 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Honestly Kim, I am jealous of you and Brian right now. All of my Things are starting to weigh me down. I don’t want to be defined by them any more, thanks so much for putting it into words so perfectly

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Tracy, I don’t like to hear that… especially because I was going to see if you wanted some of our stuff! ;) You will do what you need to do because you are brave.

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Rhonda September 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

another great post. Look how much your ideas have evolved in just a couple of months!

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I know, it’s crazy how fast my perspective is changing.

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Tricia(Geeky Explorers) September 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

Great post! We are two months out from moving into an RV and in the process of selling/giving up all of our stuff. And I agree, two months ago I couldn’t bear that I had to part with some of my oil paintings. Now most are either in consignment and two I am donating to a nursing home so they can display them. Perspective can change so quickly. Look forward to reading about your adventure!
Tricia(Geeky Explorers) recently posted..Not nearly enough progress happening…

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Kim September 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I love that you are giving some of your paintings to a place that will enjoy and display them. We’ve been giving our stuff away, more than selling, and it feels great when you place something you love with someone that will enjoy it. In that way I can think of the things I love and know that others are gaining joy from them too. Good luck on your RV adventure!

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Amy September 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

You are so talented at putting really complex feelings in writing. This is a great post. I am also glad you are going through this first so that I can work through some stuff early. Ha ha ha ha….

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Kim September 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Awww, thanks so much Amy. I hope it helps you prepare for the mixed emotions that are sure to come.

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