When I was 18 I moved out of my parents' house to go to college, and no matter where I've lived since then, their house is always home. The house looks totally different than it did when I was a kid, but it still smells the same and I still feel a peace and a comfort come over me whenever I can see my first glimpse of the foggy beach town during my visits. I have a lifetime of memories there. I have memories on nearly every street of that town. I feel like I could drive down the streets in my sleep and get to where I need to be with no problems. Almost every corner of that town is significant. It's where I grew up. It's where I became me. And I don't know if it will ever stop being "home."
I've lived on the mountain for nearly two years, and while it's become more familiar than it used to, it doesn't feel like home. I have a husband, a job, pets, and a whole life here, but whenever I talk about going back to Los Osos I say I'm going "home," and I don't even realize I've said it until I've said it. Lately I've been trying to make an effort to simply call it "my parents' house," or "where I grew up," but in my heart, it's home.
How many memories does it take to make a place a home?
Is it a change that just happens without you realizing it, or can you make a conscious effort to change what "home" is?
Is "home" even a place? Or is it just a feeling? A feeling that is familiar and has equal parts good memories and bad memories? Is "home" a feeling you get when you go back to a certain place, or is it a feeling you get when you're with all the people who make you feel that you're home?
When will home start to smell like the mountain air instead of the beach breeze? When will it start to look like the lake instead of the bay? When will it start to feel like 5,000 feet of elevation instead of sea level? How many memories will it take until I pull into my driveway and finally feel like I'm really home?