Where is “Home”??
Here is my attempt at finally answering that question.
I have always struggled with the question of “Where is Home”, and I know that many of my friends also do. When you have had a chance to live in or even just visit many countries, and were able to build a good life of intimate friendships and enriching experiences in each of them, the question becomes increasingly difficult. Where is “home”?! What makes a place “home”?!
I have randomly asked this question over the course of the years to various people and received different answers:
“Home is the starting point.”
“Home is where we have our family that we come back to.”
“Home is my apartment or house, wherever those are, where all my stuff is.”
“Home is the country of which we are citizens by birth.”
“Home is the country where we choose to live and whose citizenship we adopt.”
“Home is where my parents live, no matter where they move.”
“Home is in the arms of my lover.”
All of these are valid, but none seem conclusive. For people on the move, who feel at home in various places, none seem quite right. One is tempted to embrace this quote as an answer:
“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” (Tad Williams).
And while to a large extent this is true, it does leave a feeling of emptiness and an eternal sense of longing for an actual place to call home.
I have argued in a previous post, and will continue to research and think about, that the idea of “Countries” or “The State” is an outdated concept that lingers only because a viable alternative has still not materialised. It will go away sooner or later, and this artificial indoctrination we are filled with from childhood to love country, flag, national anthem, army, and other symbols of the State is for me just another way, similar to religion, for those in power to build the allegiance of the masses based on fake divides. Humanity in terms of needs and wants, lifestyles, and concerns has already outgrown the concept of political countries. As much as I enjoyed living in the US, France, or Egypt, and built very rich lives there and made amazing friends, and of course as much as I love Lebanon as a concept, I have zero allegiance to the United States, France, or Egypt as countries, and for sure I have zero allegiance to the Lebanese State, which I absolutely despise for having done nothing to build on the potential of the geography it occupies or the people it rules…Therefore, in the search for what constitutes “home” for me, I can safely eliminate anything that has to do with nationality or country in the political sense.
But the paradox is, I love Lebanon, and I am coming to terms slowly with the idea of calling it home. Well let me rephrase, I like parts of Lebanon, and those parts I feel are home. And just to reiterate, this has nothing to do with the Lebanese State, but with the energy of the place.
I have been enjoying a very nice summer so far in Lebanon…music festivals and beautiful beach days with good friends and long drives and weekends in the mountains…it’s taking me all over the country in different contexts. And I am increasingly aware of when a certain combination of things makes me feel perfectly in sync, happy, at peace, “Home”! It might be hard to convey in words, but there is a certain mix that involves the Lebanese mountains in particular, some Lebanese music that brings certain poetic images to life, and a small group of good friends that together create a certain energetic resonance that feels like the resonance of Home!
This energetic resonance that creates this feeling of Home is different from the pleasure and excitement that I feel when I’m in other places in the world that I love…the adrenaline rush of being in New York; the creative energy one feels in London; the nostalgia of being in Paris; the soothing serenity that I loved about being in the Himalayas in Nepal; or even the chaotic energy of Beirut itself that I sometimes really like.
Those are all great, but somehow do not reach this feeling of being personally energetically in sync with everything as when I am in certain areas of the Lebanese mountains, mixed with the other ingredients of poetic music and sense of personal history and with the right people. That combination that creates this sort of connection at an energy level is home!
Everyone must find his or her own combo. But once you find it, it becomes your anchor that you want to settle in, like the place where your elastic band is tied in one end. The other end stretches and goes all over the world, explores, learns, enjoys, but eventually is pulled back into that place where you are perfectly in energetic sync!
I would love to know about your combo or your thoughts on what your home is. Please share.