Home is a sweet and beautiful island in the middle of this dream called life.
The whole idea of "home" has been so exploited, warped, abused, and misrepresented down through the years that even the mere mention of it anymore is confusing.
What is our home? Is it a place? Is it a house or an apartment? Or is it something more?
Is it possible, maybe now more than ever, for our home to be a state of mind, some kind of intangible space that we occupy in the best of times (and the worst of times), an invisible land where we feel safe and loved?
Is it possible that home, our home, is a really dense haze of trust, a fog of security that cannot protect you from bullets or lightning or mountain lion attacks, but can settle down upon your shoulders and save you in different ways?
Home is a sweet and beautiful island in the middle of this dream called life. Home is what love is all about.
There's a darker side to all of the solo independence that everyone harps on these days. People make a big deal out of chasing down your career dreams or your artistic vision while you're in your 20s and 30s.
"You can have kids later on, when you're established and set," people tell us. "Don't get married when you're young," many say. "Stay single, have some fun, and settle down after you've lived a little."
I don't know if they're wrong or right. I don't even know if it's even possible for any one person to tell another person what's best when it comes to living their life or falling in love. The older I get, the more I suspect that advice from those standing on the shores of Retrospect is best swallowed along with a couple shots of Wild Turkey.
There's warmth and sincerity there, no doubt. But there's also a lesson on presence being laid out for you by someone who is drunk on the past. That may sound harsh, but so be it.
There's nothing bad about avoiding marriage, or even true love, for as long as you possibly can during the first third of your life. But at the same time, we ought to recognize that you're not cheating yourself out of real experience if you do find yourself head over heels, or even married, at a young age.
Because on your own, it would seem as if the idea of finding a home would be a lot tougher.
Because every single angle of home involves at least two people. Sometimes it's just a mom and her child. Sometimes it's two elderly sisters watching each other fade. And sometimes — a lot of times actually — it's two young people in love, neither of them with any f*cking clue how the hell they ended up needing each other so much.
I had a home once when I was married. I walked around naive and green, always feeling as if someone had my back. Because she did. I still believe that.
Until she didn't anymore.
The specifics of anyone's tale vary wildly, but the point is: I had it. I had a home. We both did. And it was something epic and grand in my mind. (By the way, perception is key when we speak of home in its most expansive state)
My life back then was anchored by my very belief in us as a couple — and that, in and of itself, is a thing of monumental beauty. If you haven't known that feeling in your heart/guts/bone marrow alleys yet, then I can assure you'll wish you had known it years before you finally did.
If you marry someone that makes you feel like home, someone who, despite all the various human bullsh*t that drips down onto any two people's lives when they collide, allows you to feel OK, nothing more and nothing less, on a daily basis, then you're a very lucky person indeed.
I think I had that.
I felt like home when I was married, even in the most generic bad poet ways. There was a candle in the window for a long long time. I cringe at that sh*t, but I dig it at the same time, too. Candles in the window. Shoot me. But still, if you wanna be truly hip you need to occasionally slug your IPA and steer the talk toward Norman Rockwell's genius, without irony, without jokes.
So even though that candle blew out, I still remember it. And I still have three kids, three more little bratty candles flickering in the dark.
I had home. Lost home. Found more home than I ever imagined I could.
I'm just a fool. Don't take my word as gospel. I'm just slapping paint at the canvas.
Here I am standing on the shores of Retrospect, myself. Funny how that goes. But I'm damn glad I knew what it meant to have felt like home for awhile.
Because home, no matter what they tell you, isn't something you should overtly put off. There's no strength in running from love or in fleeing from the vision of "settling down." Get your dreams in check.
Home is something you should drive straight into, like a twister or some hot buttered popcorn Thelma and Louise ending. You know it could all end badly but until then, you'll have a home. At least for as long as you believe in it.
That part, of course, is up to you. And someone else. And the stars in the deep, dark sky.
What the f*ck could possibly go wrong?