Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is home?

When I was a little girl, I thought of home as being the town I was raised in, and that it would always be like that. In a way, I was right. But since I hadn't quite grasped the ability to think abstractly, I couldn't yet understand that the concept of "home" is completely what you make of it. I would like to show you my home, and how my interpretation of the word has changed over the years.

I spent my childhood in a small town called Morris, Oklahoma. It is a community of just over 1,000 people. When I look back at my formative years, my time in this town is almost glazed over with a dreamy film of perfection. It was safe and charming, and I was a happy-go-lucky little girl without a care in the world. There will always be a special place in my heart for this little town, but it no longer feels like home.

I occasionally find myself picking it apart now that I'm older, noticing how run-down it looks in certain areas and feeling very bored as soon as I enter this sleepy little town. Like I said, I will always have strong sentimental ties to this place, but now that I'm an adult, I feel like it's just not for me.

I haven't lived in Morris for quite a while now. I moved to Tulsa, a much larger city about 40 miles North of Morris, when I was 15 years old. My mom and dad had been divorced for a few years, and my mother got a new job in "the big city". So my brother and I moved to Tulsa with her while Dad stayed in his hometown. For the last 10 years, this is where I've been living.

Big difference, right? As you can imagine, it took me a while to adjust. But I love it now. I enjoy living in a city with plenty of conveniences, entertainment, and culture. But I have to admit, there are times when it doesn't really feel like home either. I've come to appreciate my roots, but I also want to expand them if you catch my drift. When people like my grandparents and my father live in a single area for their entire lives, I am truly happy for them because it tells me that they have found where they belong. But as for myself, I don't think I've found it yet.

I have often tried to convince myself to just be happy with where I am, because it's where my family is. I am a very family-oriented person, which is almost enough to make me want to stay here forever. Almost. I have come to realize, though, that I shouldn't base my own life on where my family chose to settle. I could easily see myself returning to Oklahoma someday, after discovering that the grass is actually not any greener on the other side of the fence. But I'll have to come to that conclusion for myself. In the meantime, I will enjoy the process of discovering that my real home has nothing to do with state borders or the building materials around me. It's all about who I spend it with. And if that's the case, then I've got a sweet, loving home no matter where I go. The phrase "Home is where the heart is" comes to mind.

Another thing that comes to mind is the song "Home" by Sheryl Crow. It is my absolute favorite song by her, which is saying a lot because I'm a huge fan. It reminds me so much of my hometown that it's almost scary. Sometimes, I listen to it with the windows down as I enter the town of Morris. I smell the country air and feel the sunshine streaming into my car. I love that the beginning of the video shows interviews with people discussing their idea of what "home" is. Seriously, this song is gorgeous.

Now I want to know about your home. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? Do you feel like you are where you belong, or are you restless like me?


babalisme said...

Wow, I wish I lived in a city with only 1000 people, I never get to know anyone in my city. I mean, I have friends, but I rarely know in person, the mailman, the policeman, the doctor, etc.. When I see a doctor, for instance, he always asks again what my name is, my problem is, etc although I was there the day before. I think he handles too many people it's impossible to know his patient personally.

I always picture myself living in town like Morris (and oh, I love your city's welcome line).

..and you shouldn't be worried too much about where you belong, it's very much possible to have several places to call home. And you're right, it's not just where you were born at or where your job is, it's where your loved ones always welcome you, home.

alexkeller said...

i'm a gypsy. born in cleveland, ohio, went to college in cincinnati, moved to memphis, tn, then pittsburgh, back to cincinntai, then chicago, and finally (so far) in sunny tucson. what feels like home? cincinnati and chicago for the life i lived, and tucson, for the life i'm making

cutiepie company said...

What a wonderful post! That is something I have found myself asking many times throughout my life. I truly believe that "home is where the heart is," but that said, that is also something that can change with time.

I moved every few years growing up, and never lived in a small town. My high school had 3,000 students! I live in nyc now, the bronx to be exact. What I like about nyc (I have lived in several areas) is that it can be like a small town but also a big city at once. When you live in one neighborhood for a while, that becomes your little "town." You begin to know your neighbors, shopkeepers, mail carriers, etc. But at the same time, you can also be completely anonymous if you want to. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it... but for the moment, this is my home and where my heart is. Who knows, someday it may change. Maybe I will find myself in a charming little town with a big welcome :-)

OliveStreetStudio said...

what a great post. I too struggled with HOME once I left for college. Growing up on LI so close to NYC, but I rarely went to NYC. I moved there after I graduated - it was great for establishing me, but also close for the family. I'm now in Long Beach, NY and I love it. Again, close to family, but not where I grew up (altho the places are similar). I'm getting the itch to move somewhere new - NC? VA? to give myself a less-hectic life, but it is hard to leave when this is an ideal place 3 blocks from the Ocean. If I win the lottery - I'd keep my house and move south! :-)

Patsy said...

Loved your post. Small town here. Said I would never settle down here, but been here 52 years now, except for college years. Have to drive 1 1/2 hours to get to big city and major shopping, but kind of makes it an adenture. Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog. You have a great day filled with many blessings!!!

audreyscountrycrafts said...

Well, I live about 5 miles from where I grew up. But I have lived in two cities after graduating from high school, lived in the Netherlands one year, then came home, fell in love, got married, had kids and the rest is history!
Would not trade living on a farm (also grew up on one) for living in town/city. Don't like the neighbors that close LOL.

SheezKrafty said...

LOVE the gas tank picture :) and a great post! I'm a born and raised Tulsan but have spent much of my life exploring the smaller towns of OK...and I find them fascinating. SO much hidden character, culture, history and suprises! I believe Tulsa will always be my home, no matter where I will live, but my heart is truly here :) I'm glad I have a smaller town to abscond to with my mister to visit his family's soooooo nice to get away from 'city' now and then :)

I like to think that the world is so small that in essence, everywhere is the same. We see the same sun, moon and stars, thus we are all at home together. That thought always comforts me when I travel large :)

Christie Cottage said...

Home is where I am in rural Oklahoma!

I live in the country and it makes me happy!

Brigid said...

Tulsa will always be my hometown, but like you, I need a change of scenery. I've done the small town thing, the East Coast, the West Coast, and Europe. I'm ready to try something else. I take comfort in knowing my family will still be here, but that doesn't mean I need to be! :P

devonrose said...

I grew up in a small town, Temple Texas. My parents still live in the same house, but I moved out at 17. I moved to California (San Francisco) in 1999, then to Los Angeles in 2004. I LOVE California. We tried moving back to Dallas last year to be closer to my family. But it made us realise that California is definitely where our heart is, so we moved back 11 months later. We now live in Aliso Viejo (right by Laguna Beach) and it is BEAUTIFUL! we just gotta get the money thing straightened out:)

Ink Obsession Designs said...

How funny...I just wrote about my town today! :) I've always been in the Chicagoland area, but LOVE the town I live in now. It has a great sense of community and is known for being artsy (which I'm sure you know is totally up my alley!). Home is definitely what you make of it, though! :)

KnockKnocking said...

I agree, your home is where your heart decides it will be. This was a lovely post and very reflective, made me think a lot about what home really is and how we can live there. Puts me in a homey mindset.

xoxo Agnes

Wasted Wishes said...

I totally get it. I grew up in Washington State. I love it there and all my family are there. It's always felt like home. But since I've met Phillip and moved to HIS home, I could never make him leave it because he's so attacted, even though he wants to go somewhere. It's quite a dilemma.

Home is a strange thing. :)

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that I'm 'almost' there, in finding my true home that I belong in, but it's been a long journey.

I was born in California and lived there until I was 13... saw a lot, was exposed to quite a bit of diversity and was always taught that people are just people... let them be who they want to be.

Then I moved from California to Washington (the east side where the farms are) to live with my dad and start highschool there. We lived in the biggest city in eastern Washington, but I still never felt at home there. Most of what my days joyful while living there, were the people, not the place.

Then I meet Kevin and we clicked. We'd both lived in other places besides Spokane, and knew that there was more to see and more to know, and other places to live that fit our lifestyles better... that's when we decided to move to Oregon.

We've been here now for about two and a half years and for the most part it's been wonderful. The economy has slowed our plans quite a bit, but I suppose that's just a part of life. Nothing ever works out exactly like you plan it, but it always works out just fine in the end.

If you think you're curious about living someplace else, just to see if you've found your own place you feel you belong... do it. Go before you have children, and settle down, and buy a house, and find yourself stuck where you are. I'm not saying settling down is a bad thing, it's a wonderful thing when you've finally found your place in this world, and when you still have that freedom and flexibility, is the best time to give new things a try. And, it's always okay to change your mind too... you'll never know until you try right?

Terresa said...

I was born & grew up in Las Vegas, NV.

While it's a city I'd never pick to live in myself, as an adult now, after living 10 yrs away in other places of the world, I returned here w/my husband to start and raise our family.

We have 4 young kids now & although we've tried moving elsewhere (half-heartedly, that is), Las Vegas is still our home. I joke that I grew up here and turned out OK, so I believe my children can, too.

Heather said...

I am from a little Oklahoma town too :) we were known for our glass factories...not the most picturesque sight when you're driving in, but the town has lots of small town charm. I didnt realize until I was grown that many towns dont have large sections of historic homes or a down town that is taken care of and something to be proud of. I also love the manners of small towns--- men are still gallant, people still meet your eye and smile.

When I see 'city life' in movies and things like that I think I would be overwhelmed with the masses of people and just plain dirtiness of it all. Even in a field with real dirt--- it seems cleaner and safer than a big city.

Lol, sorry my other post made you pee yourself ;) see you at the festival in Jenks! Hopefully we'll have booths near eachother! maybe Holly Hall and I will be able to borrow some of the shade from the mafia tent :)

Rheea said...

I think home is everywhere because we live in a HUGE house call 'Planet earth'. Friends are everywhere. Hee.

I would love to live in a small town with my then hubby when we retire and grow old there. I'm sure you will find your answer when it's time to. Meanwhile, just enjoy the process of searching. :)


Anonymous said...

Home to me: the place where J and our cats are : )

Margaret said...

It is so true that home is about the people not the place. We moved around a lot when I was younger because of my dad's job. I never had a problem with it. It was always an adventure to me. Everywhere we have been has felt like home, because my family was with me. I still feel a connection when I go to most of the places that I have lived. I love to revisit all the stores and place we went while we lived there.

I love where I live now, but every morning on my way to my internship I drive throug Morris. I wish I could buy the big brick home with pillars that is for sale just a few blocks from the 4-way stop. Do you know the one? I think Morris seems so sweet. When I go through it is like a scene from an older movie. Everyone still sitting outside, the streets being safe enough for children to walk places, an open campus, etc.

Kate8085 said...

I grew up in Cincinnati..a weird mix of conservative and liberals..lots of racial tension, we had some really bad riots about 10 years ago.

I love my hometown, but the neighborhoods are getting worse and worse, and its just not somewhere I want to live.

The skyline, though, is breathtaking, and go around the curve on the highway and it appears we yell out, "TADA"! hahaha.

My mother calls me her "gypsy child". I have moved all over the place from Mexico to Los Angeles..and really, every place is the same.

I now live in a town with one flashing yellow light(!!!!).
I hate that I have to drive 45 minutes to get Indian food, but I love that it is quiet, safe, and our dogs have a ton a land to romp and play on.

As cheesy as it sounds..youa re exactly right..home is where the heart is..for me its right here with the hubs and the dogs.
Lovely post.

lollywood said...

after leaving mesquite and going to college in arkansas then moving to tahlequah.... i do not feel like tahlequah is home at all. it's where my stuff is an my boyfriend is. i'm not used to driving more than 30 mins for entertainment or shopping.. i sit over here in tahlequah and think of tulsa as "the big city" and want to be there so bad! although fayetteville, ark (where i went to college) was a nice mix. there are so many pretty hills and lots of nature, but still all the conveniences of a big city... all the stores and restaurants you can handle!