Wikipedia defines a home as “a dwelling-place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household or several families in a tribe”. Well, I suppose that is accurate enough but by that very definition a prison, hospital or even a cruise ship would be home to many and I don’t think that’s exactly what a “home” is to me.
A house is certainly not a home unless it is transformed by those persons living in it and that begs the question “What is it that turns a house into a home?” For me the first prerequisite of an abode being referred to as a home is safety. If I feel uncomfortable or insecure in an environment it could never be my home and I don’t just mean physically safe, I mean emotionally safe and peaceful.
I think that comfort is also important. Home is a place where we can relax and enjoy even the smallest of pleasures whether it be our favorite 30 minute show or a long hot shower. No place can be home if you can’t escape from the rest of the world. And what about family and friends?
I know that most people would say that no house is a home if you live alone within its four walls but I don’t think that’s true 100% of the time. I’ve known plenty of elderly people that lived alone and I can assure you that their house was the only home that they had known for a long time. That being said, it became their home because it was the place that they lived with their spouse for so many years. It was the place where the baby took his first steps, where mom and dad would visit on Sundays to see the grand kids and where you bought that huge Xmas tree that you couldn’t even get through the door!
In the end a true home is not about size, location or financial value, it is about memories. Memories are the most precious gift that we can ever own because no one can take them away. They can’t be stolen, they don’t rust or break and they never change. Memories are what we struggle to accomplish today so that we may look back in time and say to ourselves, “Those were the days”. Where would we be without our memories? I can’t answer that question but I know one thing for sure, we wouldn’t be home.