On the Importance of "Home"

It can be a little bit tricky to define "home" when you're at university. Sometimes we call where our family lives "home," because that's where we've spent most of our lives. Other times, we call the city where we go to university "home" only to have to correct ourselves in front of mom out of fear of breaking her heart, saying "But Newton is my home home."

But sometimes I feel that people my age are far too quick to complain about their hometown. I get it, everyone's hometown has some sense of monotony. It's always the "same old, same old" that we've been subject to for the majority of our lives- the trips to the grocery store, the runs in the park, and the tragic lack of nightlife. We might have some of our best, most longtime friends at home, but we've met some new and exciting people too.

Move-in day, Edinburgh 2015. 

Valid arguments, of course. And I certainly feel that way too sometimes. Especially now that I'm home on spring break for two weeks while my home friends are all back at university. It's just me, my family, and whatever Newton has to offer. But while students easily complain that their home isn't nearly as exciting as their college, and that they'd rather live anywhere but where they grew up, hear me out: valuing your home, and everyone in it, is important.

I think much of the reason why I've developed this mindset is because I live so far away from my home. Going home for a weekend (or even a week!) is never an option. I know that I'll be home for Christmas, spring break, and then the summer- but there's no traveling home on a whim for me. And I think for that reason, I've learned to appreciate it more. That, or the fact that I have to cook for myself three times a day, seven days per week with what usually is only a half empty fridge. Trust me- if you haven't already transitioned into this phase of your life, you will miss your mom's home cooking.

Edinburgh's beauty always welcomes me back. 

Anyway, I suppose what bothers me most about this "I don't like going home it's so lame" mindset is that college kids don't seem take into account what their parents have sacrificed for them to give them a home. I particularly say this with regard to my hometown which is (for the most part) very socio-economically well-off. I'd say that it's a privilege to have grown up in Newton, to be able to call it home. So I've tried to change my attitude such that I don't take it for granted.

Of course, we're all itching to start the next stage of life, to be independent, to have lives of our own. But we can't forget the people and places that helped us to get where we are today:

We need to thank our school systems, for giving us an education that primed our minds for the challenges of university and the real world.

We need to thank our teachers, for being the ones who gave us the knowledge and confidence to carry us into adulthood.

We need to thank our friends who, while they may have come and gone, made school worth it when things got tough.

We need to thank our families who were there through it all- the toddler temper tantrums, the awkward preteen years, and our angsty adolescence.

This is what makes a home.

Prom pics on the porch, 2014.

As I'm writing this blog post, I realize that not everyone has had great experiences at home. And because of this, I've found that maybe I'm just lucky. Lucky to have been able to call one place "home" since the day I was born. Lucky to have been able to grow up in a place that has provided me with ample opportunities to better myself. Lucky to have been raised by such incredible parents.

And that's why I'm always happy to go back. There might be a bit of moaning here and there when it comes to boredom, but I try to see it this way:

As I grow older, I know I will be spending less and less time in Newton, because "life" will just happen. So I need to cherish the moments that I can spend here.

Newton won't be my only home, but it will always be my first home. And to me, that's something truly special.  

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