When many think of home, they imagine a single city or single house. They are instantly flooded with memories of riding bikes down the same streets, growing up in the same house since birth, driving past the same strip malls and parks. My definition of home is a bit more convoluted.
Having grown up in three different houses in two different states, I never really grew up with the same neighbors or the same surroundings. I remember envying my friends who had the same house from birth to high school graduation. I was jealous of the familiarity they had created and the bonds they had made. After living in two different houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, then moving to a new home in Columbus, Ohio, all I ever craved during my childhood and teenage years was some semblance of consistency. I wanted to know my neighbors on a deeper level than waving hello while driving by. I wanted to be the trusted neighborhood babysitter, not the unknown new girl.
I really have no right to complain, as I am incredibly fortunate to have been raised in great homes in safe areas throughout my childhood. Many are not as fortunate. But I always remember wishing I lived somewhere for long enough that I was ingrained in the area. It wasn’t until recently that I became thankful that this was how I was raised. When it came time for me to choose a college, I didn’t fear moving somewhere completely new. In fact, I knew I wanted to explore a new city. Throughout my life, moving to new places has been one of the only consistent things. I moved to Chicago excited to explore a novel, vibrant city, eager to absorb some of its culture into my persona. This sense of seeking new places also led me to move to London during college. Now as an adult, I find moving to new places a stimulating adventure and a rewarding challenge.
Now living in Atlanta, I look back on the cities I’ve called home as the puzzle pieces of the wonderful life I’ve lived so far. Each city built a part of my personality; each new city uncovered a new aspect of myself. My parents did me the ultimate favor by raising my siblings and me in different locales. They made us citizens not of one town, but rather, of the world. Today, it is even more important to consider ourselves a part of our greater surroundings.
I am so thankful that home, for me, isn’t a single brick and mortar entity. Home is fog that rolls over the hills. It is the salty sea air. It is watching deer dance in the first snowfall. It is being surrounded by skyscrapers that comfort like friendly giants. And most importantly, home for me is being surrounded by my family: the related and unrelated humans who give me love and comfort, making home a state of mind and heart, rather than another address.
Sydney Lindsey is a second-year student in the Copywriting program at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. Home for her now is an apartment on the north side of Atlanta, with her adorable dachshund hound, Pogo, by her side.