The theme this month is “home.”
For me, “home” is where (and when) I feel most secure – physically, emotionally, and financially. I currently live north of Boston, in a seaside town called Marblehead. It neighbors the city of Salem, best known for the Salem Witch Trials, where I grew up.
For me, Marblehead has become the place I call home. I love living close to the ocean – just a minute’s walk away. I can often stand in my driveway, particularly in the morning or at night, and smell and hear the ocean (the pull of the rocks from the tide).
I love that no matter where I go in town, I’m sure to be greeted by someone I know; everyone knows everyone around here (for better or for worse but usually for better). I love the sailboats in the harbor, the view of the Boston skyline; and the skinny, winding streets and cobblestone steps. I especially love that I can be in Boston (my favorite city in the world) in thirty minutes flat. Adam Sandler filmed a couple of his movies here, as have many other filmmakers. It’s “old-world” charming and simply beautiful.
I’ve lived in this same house for twenty years. On a walk one day, my husband and I spotted this tiny, boarded-up house, not far from the beach, and joked that it would be all we could afford in town. After flipping a couple of places, that same house went for sale. We used the money from our flips to buy it and have been renovating ever since. It’s “home” now – the place I’ve raised my kids, the place I’ve spent with family and friends (through birthdays, celebrations, graduations, losses, and heartaches), and the place I do most of my writing.
But physical space isn’t the only place I call “home.” Having the emotional and physical well-being to be able to sustain that “home” is also key. For me, that requires connection with friends and loved ones, finding and gaining perspective, educating myself, having meaningful relationships and conversation, taking vigilant care of my health, making time for myself (which I need to do more), writing (of course), and travelling outside my comfort zone. All of these things feed my “home” and enable me to sustain what I do, through the good and tougher times – because there are (and will be) tougher times. But “home” is understanding that despite the tougher (sometimes mind-bogglingly-emotionally-challenging) times, there is a place of support, and kindness, and unconditional love.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a big fan of author Elizabeth Gilbert. I’d also love to share here a TedTalk she did on her idea of home (pasted below), which I can totally relate to. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving! May you always find your “home” and the means to sustain it.