I recently had a thought provoking experience that allowed me to reconsider my definition of home. I had the opportunity to observe and teach in a sixth-grade classroom over the past few weeks, using theater to build community in their school. One of the lessons required the students to share their ideas, feelings, and images prompted by the word home. The list varied and included some of what you may expect sixth graders to think of like "access to unlimited food", their beds, sleeping, staying inside all day, joy about school being over — which are some of the things I enjoy about home as well.
Others shared more abstract thoughts such as the words comfort, cozy, security, family, me time, and stability. They spent some time silently picturing what home meant to them, whether that was a place they lived in, spent a great deal of time at, or someplace they hoped their home would be like someday. They were then asked to guide a partner around the classroom as if it were their home, providing as many details as possible and letting their imaginations run wild.
I stood there in amazement as they jumped into the assignment. I heard one girl share the details of a room in her house and then continue to tell an elaborate story that ended with, "So that's one of my favorite memories in my home." Others hopped up and down stairs and opened imaginary doors, letting their partner "see" their bedroom or another room that meant something to them. Another student mentioned that she felt that sharing her room, even through imagination, was too personal, so she chose to give a tour of her neighborhood, which she also considered her home.
Their thoughts and sentiments reminded me of how broad the definition of home really is.
I've long considered myself a homebody. One of my favorite things to do is to snuggle up in bed with a cup of tea and a good book. However, more and more I'm realizing that home isn't limited to the walls of my house. I've noticed that other areas of my life are bringing about emotions that my home does, like safety, curiosity, peace, and comfort.
When I'm out to dinner with my best friend and we're able to talk uninturrupted for hours, I feel like I"m at home.
When I'm out on a hike in the middle of a forest, I feel at home as well.
When I'm driving in my car listening to a meaningful podcast or talking with my husband or daughter, I feel at home there too. Anytime I'm sitting with a good cup of coffee I feel a sense of home. When I find a moment of silence in my day, I feel at home.
Living simply is allowing me to cultivate a sense of home in my daily life. I don't think that every moment should be comfortable (sometimes we need to move out of our comfort zone to do important things) but having the security and safety that a sense of home provides with you during your day to day life is important too.
One of the most important parts of living simply is discovering what is most meaningful in my life. When I'm actively seeking the meaningful aspects, the wonderful benefit is that I get to feel at home in my everyday life. My actual home still feels like a place I can rest and retreat when I need to, but I'm able to feel more at peace as I go about my day than I every have before.
What do you think of when you hear the word home? Has living simply changed your viewpoint of your home?