When I was a young adult waking to the adult world around me, I had a pretty pastel-colored card taped to my refrigerator. On it was a picture of a little girl standing before a fork in the road. There was a signpost pointed in two different directions – one arrow was labeled ‘Home’, and the other, ‘World’. I had a deep longing for home and comfort, and yet I also understood the pull of adventure.
All of us long for that feeling of home, a place where we are always welcomed, feel safe, loved and free to be exactly who we are. But that doesn’t mean we want to be home 24/7. Most of us as well are called out into the world by beckoning dreams and burgeoning desires, hopeful that our journeys will keep us well and our adventures will deepen our lives. But how many of us actually enhance our lives and equip our spirits with a healthy balance of both Home and World?
Our families are usually a driving force behind creating and maintaining a home stronghold. We need a place in which to rest and rejuvenate, commune and connect, and dance around the living room in our pajamas. We even have an instinctual urge to nest and create a safe haven from the chaos of the world at large. Some of us try to re-create our childhood experiences in the form of home, while others attempt to fashion an entirely new nesting habitat and familial rituals.
But too much home and not enough adventure can leave us stagnant, dull and set in our ways. And too much journeying forgoing a home-front can leave us ungrounded, scattered or anxious. We need a sense of home for psychological, physical and spiritual reasons. Yet while creating a home space might seem easy to some, to be truly satisfying it requires a significant level of awareness, an openness to other people, and a willingness to sustain that feeling of ‘home’.
Sometimes, on the other hand, we actually have to leave home in order to appreciate all that it means and gives to us. We need to occasionally journey away in order to get a grander sense of things and a fresh perspective on who we are and how we’re living. Coincidentally, setting out on a journey may seem daunting or we may find ourselves clinging to home at its very onset. Journeys do require a certain amount of courage, flexibility, determination and hope. Even those that seem effortless are deepening our character and our ability to affect our lives for the better.
Our careers might provide us with adventures in the form of travel, or our search for meaning may lead us unto journeys of self discovery. But any journey, really, should lead to some sort of self-awareness or bigger-picture understanding. Then, we can head on home, equipped with an expanded perspective, a deeper wisdom – and most likely – a fresh, sincere appreciation of home.