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What Does "Home" Mean to Us?

Updated on October 30, 2015

Some Homes in Greece With a Beautiful View

These are some homes in a little village in Greece.  This is home to some wonderful people that have had quite a history there.
These are some homes in a little village in Greece. This is home to some wonderful people that have had quite a history there. | Source

What is Home? Where is Home?

I want to start out sharing my thoughts here by asking some questions that might help shed some light on where each of us is coming from. Is home the place we are born? Is it the abode we went home to after being born? Is it a locale, the city and state where we lived much of our growing up years? Or, is it something we make for ourselves once we are grown?

Some people view home as the place where our family lives, and other close ties in our lives. Some view home as the place we each currently live, and make it home. Sometimes we might yearn for a place that we are not currently in, and wonder about that. Does that ever happen to you? It does happen to me at times, and it makes me wonder and try to think through what is going on there.

Coupled with our possible desires or wants, are our observations of others. I watch and listen to people in my family and friends, neighbors, etc. I think we are all so obviously different, and therefore our views on "home" will be almost as varied. I still think the idea is worth pondering a bit because it is so tied in with our very being, and is part of being a human I think.

So here I am exploring what might be going on, in part to understand more and make the most of the life we have during our short time in this beautiful planet. If we understand a bit more, we can react to our thoughts and feelings on things more, and have little or no regrets, or hopefully no regrets!

A beautiful view

Wouldn't this be a beautiful view to behold everyday?
Wouldn't this be a beautiful view to behold everyday? | Source

Do We Get a Case of "The Grass is Greener?"

This is a phrase I come back to time and again because I have seen it in others and at times in myself. What I mean by "the grass is greener over there," hopefully is just as it sounds. Are we thinking that somewhere else or something else will actually, literally satisfy us more? When in actuality it may not be any kind of cure all, or what we think will meet our needs or desires?

We often hear people talk about this in regards to relationships, often our deepest relationships. We might think the grass is greener if only we could find the right person, and launch out on this quest to find them. We may not like the foibles of the person we are with, and want Mr. or Mrs. Right. The truth is, everyone has foibles and imperfections, and we can be taken in by people and not see the true traits until its far too late. People end up trading in an imperfect "model" for an even more imperfect model that has a whole new set of foibles we didn't even know existed, sometimes!

I took that tangent because I think this can happen with our view of home, where we live, and where we hope to make our home. Even the most amazing of lifestyles able to be lived, will have its problems and imperfections, and maybe we are on some hunt that will never satisfy, and miss out on what we have right in front of us. I have seen this in some people I care about and time and money is spent without really thinking things through fully. Perhaps we can gently encourage them as time allows, to think of all the issues before making huge choices that they might regret, or be disappointed with, etc.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side. We seem to just think that it is. It may be greener though too, and we need to just really evaluate all things, and then rest in a good conclusion we come to. I don't want to be one that falls into that trap and then years have gone by that I can't get back. This does all tie into the idea of home, by the way, and I am just trying to make that connection here. So bear with me.

A beautiful view of the ocean with a sunset

Small waves coming in, with a beautiful view.  The peaceful end to another day.  I could get used to this!  Memories are great too.
Small waves coming in, with a beautiful view. The peaceful end to another day. I could get used to this! Memories are great too. | Source

What is it that we yearn for in our hearts?

So what is that yearning some people feel sometimes? What is it that makes us sometimes yearn to go back "home," and what is home exactly? Do you know what I am referring to at all? Let me try to explain.

I know someone that I love dearly, and she has tried to move in the past across the country. She and her family made a huge decision and even made it work with their income and everything, for what was thought to be a wonderful thing. It turns out that it was a horrible thing, and ultimately they just wanted to "go back home." I almost think it was a choice that is deeply regretted, but really they thought it was an amazing idea at the time. That is one story where the ending is great, and they are back home, never to leave again and it really drives the point home. I would be curious to know the way they describe home, but I have some ideas I may touch on later.

I know another couple that did the same thing and even has moved a couple of times. They ended up being truly disillusioned and disappointed and its really crazy because they were so sure they were going to the new perfect place. Only to find its not "home." Once you pick up and move, even to where family, extended family and friends are, you have often spent a lot of money and made some irreversible decisions with repercussions. So what is going on there? These are people I love and respect and I have other examples of the same with other people I know and friends, etc. I have seen it played out many times over.

Even though we have moved and I miss my own childhood home at times, I feel like I am not in the same boat because we moved for my husbands work. When you move because of necessity and choice to go to a new area, I feel and think that is a little bit different. I also view it as a kind of commitment. I made a choice, and I am living with that choice. So sometimes it depends on what we are doing with our feelings and emotions surrounding a "thing." This is what I am exploring some, and in a greater sense of what home is in general. It is an attempt to understand, and I think it can be helpful.

Walking Along the Ocean with Waves Crashing

I love this photo of my oldest son when he was a bit younger.  I love to take them back to where I grew up and spent some time.
I love this photo of my oldest son when he was a bit younger. I love to take them back to where I grew up and spent some time. | Source

What Strikes a Chord in Our Hearts?

So shifting gears here a little, how about locale? How about the landscape of an area? This may sound strange at first blush, but hear me out.

For instance, as my pen name suggests, I love an ocean. I think there is something very incredible about the ocean, and I grew up about a thirty minute drive from the Pacific Ocean for the first two decades of my life, and then again for a few more years before settling into the Midwest area of the United States. For me, at this point of life and based on the last several years, I would say the ocean strikes a chord in my heart. There is simply no denying it.

As for other bodies of water, I love those also. I really and truly do. There is something about a beautiful lake, stream, river or creek that does my heart good. I think there are a lot of people like this. So there is that, the love of the ocean and a desire to be near it. But is that "home?" I wonder if its the fact my actual childhood home was not far from the ocean, that does that for me. Perhaps it is a combination. I have often wondered at how great it would be to live anywhere near an ocean, but then I may still want to be near the ocean in the town I grew up in. So I think there is more to it perhaps.

Perhaps a view of the mountains does it for some people, or a view of a valley below, or the desert. I can totally get that actually. We have family that lives in the Southwest US, and we all love that area too. I kid you not, I could live in Arizona, even with the heat in the summer. Each place has its pluses. The landscape of the desert is actually very beautiful to me. My family has expressed the same at times. We have said the same though in places like the Blue Ridge Mountains, and many other places. So you can see the landscape plays a large part for some people. I am referring to if money were no object, in much of my thinking here, by the way. As reality hits, money is almost always an object actually.

Family is often a huge one for people, perhaps most people. I think so many have been hurt by their family though, they would tell you its easier to be far from their family than close. No matter what though, I wonder if it goes deeper than our current, live family. Often, its where our loved ones that have passed on, live. They are from an area, and were born, raised, lived and died in whatever place they did, and its meaningful to us even now. We can sometimes visit their grave even, if buried in a cemetery. There is a closeness we feel to them, perhaps, even if we never go to such a cemetery, or memorial? For me, I think this may be the case, on some level. It means a very great deal to me for instance, since I lost my dad, the area where we all were and where he is now buried. I am trying to pin these thoughts and feelings down, in how they might relate to my idea of home and what draws me possibly, to such a place.

Family is everything to many people Where their family is, is where their home is. That is precious, sweet, and understandable. Often this is one's immediate, or core family. Sometimes, family is a person and their pets, or a person and one other person. Or, home can be an area where the most of their family is in an area. This is part of what home is to me for sure, its a huge part of that. I am trying to get after the other components "home" could be about as well, however. I think home is a more complex set of things for some people, than I originally thought.

Where I grew up - Southern California - Orange County

Orange County California:
Orange County, CA, USA

get directions

Home is a refuge, a place to escape to, to rest.

For some people, home is very simple. Its where they go at the end of the day, their place of rest and refuge. Its what separates them, protects almost, from the outside world and all the other people out there. They can come home, lock the door, kick off their shoes after a long day, and rest in any fashion they choose.

I get this idea also. Its one of the best things about wherever we live! It allows a sense of freedom, a place to be yourself and relax. Its one of the simple yet profound things about home. Please keep in mind that when I use the term home, I am referring here to wherever that is, and it need not be a house. Its your abode, whatever that may be.

This home, is a place to rest and recharge before you go back out into the world the next day, doing whatever it is you do. Sometimes, its a place to recover from being sick or an extended illness. It can even be a place where you work in some form or fashion. Many people have a room or portion of their home dedicated to making money to afford to live.

Making Memories Near Our Old Homes

Making memories by some tide pools near where I grew up as a child.  Taking my own kids back there was very fun and meaningful to me!
Making memories by some tide pools near where I grew up as a child. Taking my own kids back there was very fun and meaningful to me! | Source

What is your view of home?

So this has been a sampling of ideas of what could express the meaning and "draw" of home, to us. I am very curious what other peoples thoughts are on this. Its funny really, that its such a massive part of our lives, and yet sometimes we don't give a lot of thought to it. Not until we may come close to losing a home or having to leave a home for whatever reason.

I am thinking about these things in the sense of relocating, from times in the past, to possible times in the future. Its a big deal, really. Our home, then our greater home in the sense of the society around us. If you care to share your thoughts below, I would love to hear them.

My hope is that I can always be thankful for the things I have in my life. Home is a huge one, as is family, and life itself. What a gift we have been given, truly. It helps in keeping perspective I think.

Path Along the Ocean

A beautiful, thin walking path on a bluff overlooking the ocean.  A great place to ponder the idea of home.  This picture was taken in Greece.
A beautiful, thin walking path on a bluff overlooking the ocean. A great place to ponder the idea of home. This picture was taken in Greece. | Source

© 2015 Paula


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Alancaster, how very interesting to hear of where you live and lived! I would love to visit the places you mentioned one day. I am so drawn to the ocean and I know so many others are also. I love the idea of the very historic places you mentioned and why some people called the places the different things they did over time.

      Speaking of which, that is something else I often think about, how things change so drastically over time. Often, after some decades have passed, some places look almost unrecognizable, but the memory is still there for so many. I had not realized that any place in England is no less than 75 miles from the ocean. How wonderful for everyone there! Just knowing I could drive to the ocean and spend some time looking out upon it is a wonderful thought. I really do miss it so much.

      Finally, I do want to be careful that I am not just in a mindset where "the grass must be greener" elsewhere. Every place has its special things about it that make it so special and unique. Nature gives me great pleasure to be a part of it when I can. Thank you so much for your comment, I enjoyed it!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello Paula (my cousin Corinne has a daughter by that name, after her brother Paul).

      Although I live in London and know a great swathe of the area from Kingston-upon-Thames in the west and Epping Forest in the north-east, I 'live' in the North, grew up not far from Whitby (overlooking Tees Bay).

      Oddly, I know more of the region since living down here in 'the Smoke', driving the 250-odd miles north, visiting friends and relatives between Scarborough and Teesside, Teesside and Wensleydale (famous for cheese, ruined castles, abbeys and racehorses).

      There's nowhere in England that's more than 75 miles from the sea, remember, my favourite seaside resorts being between Marske-by-the-Sea (where Captain Cook's father was buried) and Scarborough, although Filey, Bridlington and Hornsea have their own charms.

      One landmark in the Cleveland area stands out, and is used in publicity shots for the area, Roseberry Topping, one side collapsed as a result of quarrying in the 19th Century. It was completely conical until then, named Odinsberg by the incoming Danes in the 9th Century, who also named the Cleveland Hills, originally 'Kliffeland' on account of the sharp escarpments to the south that resembled sea cliffs.

      Told you I 'live' there, didn't I.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Edward, thank you for your very thoughtful comment. You express a lot of the same things I thought and think about this topic. Sometimes for me, it is hard to put into words what I am exactly trying to say. I recall one time coming home to the USA, and it feeling like home, after being away for a couple of weeks. Seeing and experiencing another part of the world will definitely cause us to appreciate home I think. It sheds light a lot on what I am trying to express. It makes me glad you enjoyed the topic and the way I chose to develop it. Not being sure I would be understood was something I thought about before publishing, but wanted to all the same. On some level, home is a big deal for everyone really. It kind of goes down to the core of our being.

      Yes, its a wonderful thing to find a place to call home, and I am glad that your family has found that as well. Thank you for your comment.

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 

      3 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      You develop an interesting point; home is where we feel an inner peace and a sense of belonging and an appreciation of our surroundings. Thankfully, any of a variety of environments can fit this description, but it seems one may suit us, as individuals, particularly well. I remember a time when simply returning to the continental U.S.A. was a return home, but we redefine "home" over time and perhaps with the arrival of children. I'm glad you've found a home that ideally suits you, and I'm glad my family and I have found ours as well. I enjoyed this topic and the way you've developed it.


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