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The Psychology of Home
Each of us longs for home. If not the physical place itself, we each desire the sense of feeling at home. Most commonly we think of home as where our family lives, especially if they live where we grew up. But where is home when that place no longer exists? When our parents die or move to another place? Perhaps you left your childhood home for college, or a job, or for love, and you ended up establishing home in a new place—another city, another state, or even another country. Maybe you got married and home became the place where you met your spouse. Or maybe home became the place where you raised your own family. But what happens when your children leave home and establish residence somewhere else, no longer returning regularly for special occasions or holidays? Or when divorce, death, or tragedy disrupts your sense of home and irrevocably fractures what you once knew to be certain, safe, and comfortable? In the absence of children, parents, or spouse, how does one define what home is or decide where it lies?
At some point many of us have felt estranged from home and don’t know where to find it. We live our lives, buoyed by events that carry us along, following cultural norms, possibly content yet sensing at moments the overwhelming sensation of being unmoored and disconnected. We accept what the culture—largely influenced by nostalgia, economics, and advertising—tells us home is and strive for that. We buy more things and bigger houses, we change jobs, move to “better” locations, and still don’t feel content, completely comfortable, or soulfully connected to place. We long for something more. What is missing? How can we fulfill this longing for home?
Perhaps, like me, you spent many years moving around, for work or love or other reasons, and now long to be anchored to place. Or perhaps, also like me, the home you love home has become the very thing that is holding you back and restricting your growth?
Seeking understanding on home has been a deeply personal quest. I needed to know why, as a single woman in my 40’s, I bought a house in rural Idaho, twenty miles from town. Why did this place feel so right to me, like the home I had long wanted? And why, after just ten years, and as much as I loved it, did I feel I needed to leave?
This book is the result of years of academic research. Just as importantly, it is the culmination of what I’ve learned in examining my own life and what others have shared in examining theirs. It answers the most pressing of questions: where we can find home and how we can create it when external influences do not readily provide the answer.
An American in Italy During Coronovirus
A six-week holiday turned into four months when Italy entered Covid-19 quarantine just days after I arrived. Fortunately, I made it to Sicily without being stopped by police and was able to find an inexpensive apartment to wait out the storm. This story tells the daily struggles of living through eleven weeks of lockdown in a foreign country while considering my future. Could Italy be my new home?
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