I have lived in the same house nearly my entire life. On Friday morning, the purchase and sale agreement will be signed and a new occupant will be living there. The thought of not waking up at 850 South Main Street again is as alien to me as a planet in a distant galaxy. Everything I’ve experienced in life has in some way included this building, this place I’ve called home for over 20 years. To say it feels bittersweet is an understatement. This mixture of emotions is happening on a much greater magnitude than I expected. Excuse me, while I become overtly nostalgic. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
From my first day of kindergarten, to making my first friends, to learning how to drive a car, to learning how to be a functioning adult, I have experienced it all in this house. From birthdays, to graduations, to river rat celebrations, they have all happened here. My house was my bus stop, my play place when I was young, my hangout when I was older, and most importantly, a place where I felt safe and welcome. The feelings of nostalgia and memories are pouring over me like a tsunami now. I’m coming to realize that the longer you stay in a place, the more likely you are to stay there. I never imagined the day that I’d be crossing the threshold of this building, never to enter again.
Nothing in life is permanent and everything is subject to change. When I first moved into this house, I could hardly speak or walk. Fast forward 20+ years and I’m an adult who is in college and (mostly) out on his own. Throughout all of these years, I have always felt at home in my house. For many people, the place in which they reside is an uncomfortable, or even hostile environment. That was never the case for me. That is not to say that we didn’t endure hardships or live without any strife or conflicts, but we always forgave each other and knew that deep down, we cared about one another.
Home is about to change for me, and so it’s really had me thinking about what home actually is. Many people will say ‘home is where the heart is’, or quote the Edward Sharpe song which says ‘home is whenever I’m with you’, but I feel like those sentiments only cover part of what home actually is. People often mitigate the connection which we get with the physical environment of our homes and the proximity of those we know and care about. A few years ago when I moved away to North Carolina, I was completely separated from nearly everyone I knew and cared about. The feeling of being hundreds of miles from everyone you knew was completely alienating. Home is where you know the environment like the back of your hand. Home is a place where you are surrounded by those whom you know and love. Home is also familiar and comfortable place, and one which seemingly never changes. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for places which stay the same. Year after year, with the ever-changing world around me, home still remained the same. Because of that, this has always been a place where I can take a load off and recharge my batteries.
Home is where you don’t feel lonely. To me, this has always been a place that I have always felt wanted and never alone. Letting go of this place essentially means letting go of that feeling and trying to re-establish that somewhere else. I’ve spent countless hours with my closest friends at this house, and countless others with my family. I can only hope to have a place of my own in the future filled with memories of those whom I love and care about. The bonds with those people will always remain, even if my physical location changes. Having said that, I understand that time will change both who I am and where I am and nothing will ever truly be the same. It’s all about trying to recreate the feeling of belonging wherever you end up, I suppose.
In retrospect, I think it’s a good thing that the move is happening now. This will only help me to go out into the world and not to hold onto familiar things indefinitely, but instead, challenge myself and broaden my horizons. It doesn’t come without its own sense of sadness, but its the (somewhat) metaphorical shove out the door that I needed in life. In order to break complacency, we have to do things that are uncomfortable, and this is certainly one of those things. Nothing in life is permanent, but this process seems to not be in line with places which never change, which is why this feels weird to me. So here’s to the memories of my childhood and coming of age in a house by the Millers river on South Main Street. Here’s to celebrating the chapter of my life that has already happened, and to those that haven’t happened yet. In time this feeling of home will come again. All anyone wants is to feel that they belong and they are loved. Thank you for giving me that, 850 South main.
This song always makes me cry, and has always held a special place in my heart. All anyone wants is to be home.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?