Cultivating Love Wherever You Are
As 2022 comes to a close, I’m starting a new chapter in my hometown. My family and friends in Charlotte rolled out the red carpet with invitations and sent messages to check on me. It felt wonderful to be reacquainted with family, friends, and my personal belongings; yet my definition of home has made a seismic shift. Now, home is a feeling, not a physical space.
I reflected back on my 10-month stint in guest rooms. Each location was lovely; however, it was how I felt in the presence of my hosts that made it feel like home. Their unconditional love and willingness to sit with me in grief granted me permission to just be.
When I arrived in Charlotte, two friends welcomed me with arms outstretched, ready to dispense hugs and unpack my car. For two weeks, I stayed in their guest room, was treated to eggs with avocado each morning, and received wet kisses from their furry kid. I was welcomed to work remotely alongside my friend in the kitchen, rummage through the refrigerator, and hibernate in my room with my steadfast companion, Netflix. I felt at home.
Shortly after my belongings arrived in my new apartment, I visited my dear friend from Lyon in Boston. The pandemic and my mom’s illness kept me from my annual trips to France, so when she said she would be in Boston, I bought a plane ticket. We crammed three years into three days of coffee, cocktails and conversation. Our precious catch up time in Boston felt like home. We also made a 45-minute drive to Holden, MA to visit another dear friend’s family. Although my college friend is no longer with us in this physical world, her spirit lives on through all who knew her. They have become my friends and all of those smiling faces greeted us at the door. Within seconds, we were whisked in our sock feet to the dining table for a delicious dinner. The evening of merriment and love made Holden feel like home.
As I unpack my remaining boxes, I lovingly reflect on my last two months in New York City. Friends traveled across the city, from different boroughs, and different states to break bread and pack boxes with me. I ended my 11-year stint in Manhattan with a pit stop at another dear friend’s house in New Jersey for a long weekend filled with coffee, champagne and chats. New York City still feels like home.
I am excited to create a colorful, creative, and cozy atmosphere in my new space. Home is where the heart is. It’s the love you cultivate wherever you are that makes home home. The possessions are just the icing on the cake.