What Makes A Place 'Home'?

A home is more than just a house                                 Image:Marie Vonow
Pliny the Elder, born way back in 23AD, wrote, ‘Home is where the heart is.’ This is a simple but descriptive explanation of what ‘home’ is and works just as well today as it did 2,000 years ago. It is the place where the people, pets and things that matter to you are. This does not mean you will always get on with those sharing your home but there is something that holds you together.

What is a home?
Home is the physical place where one lives, stores personal belongings and can relax, but it is more. Some definitions limit 'home' to a dwelling shared with others. But some folk are happy living alone and don’t wish to share their special place with others, except perhaps a cat or dog.

A home may be a house, flat, unit or even just a room in a shared dwelling. It may be a caravan, houseboat, boat or igloo. However a house may be just a house, no matter how much it looks like somewhere out of a glossy magazine if those living there don’t feel comfortable physically and emotionally. On the other hand, a very basic dwelling may be ‘home’ because it's where you have your personal stuff and feel emotionally at peace.

Personal belongings
While having lots of possessions doesn’t necessarily bring happiness it is nice to have some things around you that have special meaning. They may have little financial value and no meaning to others.

Pictures on the wall, ornaments and books, cushions and a soft rug on the sofa have psychological importance as part of ‘home’. Often they hold memories. Sometimes the item just looks nice and has an aesthetic appeal.

My special things
One day I started taking photos of items in my house that were special to me. I snapped the pottery houses I made when I did a ceramics course, the wall hanging from an overseas trip, owls given to me as presents, a mug of flowers and gifts from my sons. Doing this made me realise how ‘rich’ I am in terms of possessions that are precious to me but would have little value to others. 

The mug belonged to my mother so is special to me and I love owls.                Image:Marie Vonow

Cooking, playing games, talking, relaxing
The activities carried out at home are important too. Cooking a tasty meal, whether it be hearty soup or something more lavish and sharing it adds to that feeling of ‘home’. Watching a DVD, television show or a hilarious YouTube video or playing a game with others strengthens that bond of ‘home’. In fact the activities you share with others in your home are more important than expensive furniture and appliances.

And home is where you can chill and do the stuff you love to do.

Coming home
Home is that place you look forward to coming back to. It is a wonderful feeling to arrive home at the end of a long day at work or after a trip. Even after doing some shopping on a hot day. Perhaps you are greeted by family or an enthusiastic dog when you walk in the door. 

Kick your shoes off, grab a drink and flop down on a comfy chair, you're home.

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