I read a post from C Lo over at One Smarmy Mama that got me thinking about the concept of “home” and what it really is. Is it the place where you grew up? Is it the place you live now? Is it the place your parents or rest of your family live? Is it the place that all of those cliché sayings say it is? E.g. where the heart is. What is home?
While I used to think home and hometown were the same thing, the older I get, the more that changes. Is that just how it works, or does hometown always equal home, whether they live there or not?
Growing up, home was wherever I was living. We moved a lot for the first 9 years of my life when I lived in 6 different towns in various parts of the country from northern Manitoba, to southern Manitoba to the Yukon, to southern Alberta, back to northern Manitoba/Saskatchewan, and then finally up to the Northwest Territories where I spent almost 10 years of my life before moving back to Alberta and now I’m back in Manitoba.
For the first 9 years we were never in one place for more than 2 years, though why that changed when we moved to Yellowknife, I am not sure. I spent my formative years growing up in Yellowknife, grades 4-12. When someone asks, I say I grew up in Yellowknife. When I lived in Calgary, and someone asked me where I was from, I’d say Yellowknife. Yellowknife was my hometown, and even after 8 years of living in Calgary, I didn’t feel like I was from Calgary. Yellowknife was still where I was from, even though I hadn’t been there since graduating 8 years previous.
Now that I live in Winnipeg, I hate telling people that I’m from Calgary, it just feels wrong. It wouldn’t make sense to say I’m from Yellowknife, but I’m not from Calgary. I often say, “We moved here from Calgary, but I grew up in Yellowknife.” Now there’s nothing wrong with Calgary, but I’m not a Calgarian. It isn’t who I am, and I don’t want that label. I’m from a small town; I’m not a city boy.
So what is “home”? My hometown is Yellowknife, and after being away for almost 10 years I still miss it, but it is the place that I miss; the memories of the good times. I don’t miss the people. Is home defined by people or can it be defined by a place?
When I lived in Calgary, I called it home. It was where I lived, and where my family did also. Now I’m married and living in Winnipeg with my wife while the rest of my family is still in Calgary. Is home here, or back there?
For me, the concept of home has changed a lot over the years. It started with where my family lived, as I was a part of that unit. Then, when I moved out but still lived in the same city, home was my parents’ house. Even when I bought my own place, theirs was still home. Once I got married and we lived in a new place that we bought together, it still didn’t seem like home; more just a place we lived in. Home was still my parents’ house. Since moving to a new city, I feel that we are finally starting our own home. Our house is turning into our home, and I think that will be further cemented when bean is born in October. I know the house that we are living in now will not be our forever house, or even a house we are in for much more than another 4 years, but while we are there, it will be our home. Home is where I live with my wife, with my family. Home is a place that I live with people that I love.