Home is People

This weekend, I flew to Denver for a Pure Barre training, which marks the first of many trips back and forth from Nashville to Colorado until I move. As of right now, I will officially "move" all of my things out to Colorado Springs in mid-late May. With less than two months left in Tennessee, I've started to think a lot about the concept of home and what it means to me. When I was nine, my family moved from the house I was born in to a house directly behind it. Literally, I can still see my old house from my new one. However, my resistance to change caused me to throw many tantrums about how much I did not want to move. I didn't want to leave my home. In protest, I actually took light switches off the walls and carried them with me to our new house, and I think I still have them somewhere. I'm sure the new tenants really appreciated this.

When I moved away from Lexington to come to Nashville for school, I again felt a profound attachment to the city that held all of my friends, family, and memories. Even though I loved Nashville, I became extremely homesick at the beginning of my freshman year until I joined Phi Mu. Joining a sorority was the last thing I thought I'd ever do, but it became my home in college by providing me with a group of women who have challenged me and loved me throughout the past four years. I came to love my dorm because I loved the roommate I shared it with. I formed attachments with the practice rooms in the music school because of the ensembles I rehearsed with. The relationships I formed in Nashville rooted me here. Whenever I returned to Kentucky, I felt nostalgic, but I never really called it home after my freshman year.

The true friends I had from Lexington didn't go anywhere when I moved away. The relationships that were genuine lasted and grew stronger, and the ones that weren't authentic no longer mattered. Year by year, I fostered more relationships in Nashville, constantly in awe that God provided me with friendships that have become as close to my heart as the ones from high school. My favorite moments throughout college have been when these groups of friends were all together in one place, whether that be Lexington or Nashville or Florida or Colorado. When I am with my friends and family, I am at home, regardless of location.

One of the best aspects of college is the transitions that it forces you into. You don't have time to get attached to a place because you are always moving, from dorm to dorm to apartment. You don't have time to settle into a major because your preferences and courses are different all the time, combining learning both inside and outside the classroom. You can't worry about building one, specific career because of the plethora of internships and part-time jobs that you acquire. I recently read that the best way to achieve happiness is learning to connect your short term actions with a long-term purpose. The place you live is just that - one, short-term location where you will share memories and moments in your life. But the relationships you build along the way, that's the road map that gets you from place to place and keeps you grounded throughout.

And now, as I think about leaving this school, my sorority, and this city, I realize that moving across the country won't make Colorado my home. Lexington isn't my home, and Nashville isn't my home. Home is people, as I said during my senior speech in Phi Mu last week. That phrase came out of my mouth involuntarily, but I really like the sound of it. Home is letting people get to know you wholly and learning to work through conflicts. Home is feeling comfortable enough to share your joys and failures and fears. Home is knowing that, wherever you go, you are loved and you are safe.

I've been blessed with a home of people that is supportive, expansive, and constantly evolving. So, at the end of the day, I'm not "leaving home", I'm growing it.