For most people, a home is a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person or family. Home has never been a place for me, which is probably a good thing for someone who has moved 19 times in 30 years. Home, for me, is a feeling that I get from surrounding myself with my people. And my people are my husband, my son, and my best friend. They make me feel safe, secure, relaxed and at peace.
Growing up, I never felt especially attached to a particular place. I spent a large chunk of my childhood living in an apartment that was supposed to be temporary, so I didn’t allowed myself to let it feel like home. This feeling carried over to my family’s house, which I lived in for 6 years until I graduated from high school and promptly moved out. Once I was in college, I was moving every year, if not more frequently, and these cheap, tiny apartments certainly never screamed “make a life here!” to me. I didn’t bother with decorating, or really putting much time or effort into my living space. My proudest moment was the year I moved once every 2 months, and could fit all of my belongings into 6 plastic bins. Just knowing I could pack up in the middle of the night and take off, start my life over wherever I pleased, was so liberating to me. Granted, I never did this, but just knowing that I could have was half of the rush. I believe this unattachment to possessions is what led to me getting so many tattoos, a form of art I could carry with me wherever I went, instead of hanging pictures on my walls. I didn’t feel a sense of home until I met my people.
My best friend, Emily, currently resides in Oregon. We have known each other since we were 5, and although we only get to see each other a couple of times a year, that has had zero impact on our relationship. It is never awkward, uncomfortable, or tense. The minute we see each other, this complete sense of calm takes over my body and mind. I can breathe a little easier, walk a little lighter, and slow down to really take in the moments together. When we aren’t able to be in the same room together, we are in constant communication. There is rarely an hour that goes by in a day that I haven’t received a text from her. We have the kind of relationship where we know something is wrong, without even having to say anything. Our hearts are connected, even though we are physically 1,736 miles apart. And then, those sweet few days each year when we get to be in the same room together, those days are the days worth writing about. We don’t do anything special, really. Our time together usually involves some wine, a terrible rom-com on repeat, ice cream, and blankets. We usually don’t even talk all that much. We don’t need to. We can talk when we are back in our own houses, in our own towns, in our own states. We just soak up each other’s presence. There’s no need for words. Sometimes feelings are better when felt instead of discussed.
I met my husband nearly 5 years ago while working at the same coffee shop together. We fell in love rapidly, and without hesitation. We were engaged within a year, married 18 months later, and pregnant with our first child 4 months after the wedding. People may think this seems a bit rushed, but it never felt that way for us. We’ve spent lifetimes searching for one another. He is my home. I knew it the second we kissed. It felt like coming home, which is such an odd feeling to a person that has never felt at home anywhere before. That’s how I knew. He was like coming home. I have that feeling every time he wraps his arms around me. Safety. Warmth. Security. He has the ability to recreate that feeling wherever we find ourselves.
This is one of my favorite things about him. As we sat on the side of the highway in Wyoming this summer, with a broken car, a 5 week old baby, and no cell phone reception, I didn’t feel an ounce of panic. He has the ability to keep me calm and content, wherever we may find ourselves. I feel that same sensation every time our tiny baby wraps his arms around my neck. It does not matter what has happened to me that day; as soon as those little fingers tickle my face and he buries his head into my shoulder, everything else fades away. All that I am experiencing in that moment is sheer love. Home. This is where I belong.
All of this is becoming even more important in my life, as we pack up our belongings and leave our house in a couple of weeks, to move into someone else’s home for the next year. Friends have been asking if I am worried or nervous about having to combine a living space with my husband’s family, and I can honestly say that I am feeling incredibly positive about the situation. This will enable us to purchase a house, and put down our own permanent roots somewhere. For the first time in my life, I may feel at home in a house. But if not, that’s okay, too. Because I can feel at home anywhere, as long as I have my people
About The Author
Jess Gullikson is a 30-something modern day hippie. She enjoys spending her time reading (her to-read list currently sits at 541), doing yoga, cooking, drinking too much coffee, reminding people to take their vitamins, and sleeping when she can. She currently resides in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband, son, and pit bull, Donut.