One word to start the new year: home

Jan 2, 2012

At Atlantic.com, Julie Beck has an interesting essay on the Psychology of Home: Why Where You Live Means So Much:

But while it’s human nature to want to have a place to belong, we also want to be special, and defining yourself as someone who once lived somewhere more interesting than the suburbs of Michigan is one way to do that.

Beck explains that her house if filled with pictures and references to past places she’s lived. My house is similar, with photos of my Peace Corps community of Liro Village in the South Pacific, music from my time in Honolulu (Olinda Road by Hapa the best), bins of journals and term papers during my studies at John Carroll University or reporting notebooks from my early years as a magazine editor.

See my Travels page for a map of my round-the-globe trip that inludes some of my past homes.

But North Carolina is home for me now, as I noted in my post 10 years in NC, 15 years in marriage, 20 years in love.

Still, our families are spread far and wide, and Erin and I often talk into the night about where home would best be for us now, next year, in five or ten or more years on. My dad’s 20th marathon (he and I and my brother, Nick, ran our first together in 1993, and I would have loved to be with him for this race; Nick was there this time, too) and my brother-in-law Mike’s sudden heart surgery — he’s blogging his recovery at ShaughnessyMD.com — made this discussion even more timely.

As much as we want to be nearer our families, I keep reminding myself that my ancestors left their homes and familiies, sailed across the ocean and started a new life in America.

I was thinking about that on Christmas Day, when I set out on a walk of my own through the neighborhood, into the woods of the future Moniese Nomp county park and along the new Jones Creek Parkway. It was a beautiful, warm day, and just what I needed to still myself at the end of a busy year and on the cusp of an intense month ahead. As I finished, I was walking up a path beneath my street, and I looked up to see my house.

“I want to live in this house for a very long time,” I said to myself. I’m very happy here.

One of the reasons we chose this big house is because we wanted to entertain our friends, neighbors and community. We did that over the last couple of weeks in a series of bagel brunches. Today’s was a gathering of some of my BlogTogether friends, just a great group of people on a relaxing day off enjoying each other’s company.

That’s the psychology of home for me.

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Anton Zuiker

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