What is home? Where is home? Experiencing mixed stages of moving into a new home

How do you define “home”?

File:家-seal.svg - Wikimedia Commons

In Chinese, home is “家” (jia), a picture of a pig with a roof on top of its head. If I remember correctly, the explanation for the Chinese character is that the home is a place where there is shelter and where you have things that can sustain you–a practical, physical, concrete definition. I believe my current home has all this.

According to Gaius Plinius Secundus, “Home is where the heart is.” I have this wooden sign in my classroom on my desk–a fun little sign to make my classroom more welcoming. But, I’m not sure if “my heart” is in my new home, yet.

Today, I stopped by parent’s home. It was my home for about 26 years. And it, technically, still is, according to my mom. As I walked up the driveway to the back entrance, I felt a tug in my heart. How come this place feels different now? I still felt comfortable, with whispers of home seething into my conscience as I waited outside the door. However, at the same time, there was this invisible distance that pushed at me, or maybe, another force, pulling me away.

It has now been about a little over two months since I moved out. Two months ago, I still felt really strange in my new “home” with my husband. Now, it feels…less strange, more “at home.” And just last week, “time to go home now” naturally slipped out my mouth as I wrapped up my conversation with my mom in my last visit.

Psychology defines stages of loss as denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In an article by Thought Catalogue, Audrey Coan defines similar stages of moving to a brand new place:

Stage 1: The departure and the denial that accompanies it.

Stage 2: The ACTUAL departure

Stage 3: Arriving/Vacation mode.

Stage 4: A whole mess of emotions

Stage 5: Total acceptance and appreciation of your new home.

For me, I’m not too sure that I follow these stages in a clear linear fashion. Before moving in, my husband and I were in a very focused mode, making sure we bought our furniture and organized the place in the way we wanted it when we officially move in together after our wedding. There was no denial about it.

After moving in, I was experiencing a “whole mess of emotions,”–isolation, depression, anger, and “arriving/vacation mode” at the same time.

I want to say I’m close to acceptance at the moment, but I feel so conflicted.

Home is a growing shadow, beckoning me to open up.

How do you define home?

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