May 23rd 2010 Home

I’m surrounded by boxes. I’m moving to Queens soon, which means that for the third time in two years, I have to pack my entire life into tiny cardboard cubes. I haven’t been motivated to pack a lot of things yet, so most of these boxes are empty. Kind of like my life.

My new apartment is smaller than this one, and I have a roommate, so I can’t move everything down to New York with me. Things like my bookcases, pots and pans, and couch can go. With the exception of my couch, I can’t throw out or sell many of my items, since my dad, an enthusiastic woodworker, built my bookcases and some of the rest of my furniture. Which means I have to truck it back to my parents’ abode in central Pennsylvania.

In telling this tale to friends, or thinking about it, I find I keep repeating the phrase, “I have to take some stuff home.” Home. As though my parents’ little house is my home. I haven’t lived there full-time since I left for college six years ago, but I’ve found that in the past two years, whenever I talk of home, I mean my childhood residence. Virginia, upstate New York—it doesn’t matter; for the past two years, home hasn’t been my apartment, the address on my driver’s license—it’s been my hometown.

It hasn’t always been like this. I remember when I was at college, I used the word “home” to refer to my dorm room. The definition is a bit muddled because I went to college about fifteen minutes’ drive from where I grew up, but I distinctly recall thinking of my little dorm room, barely big enough for me and my books, as home.

That’s when it dawned on me: “home” is wherever you feel most comfortable. During college, I felt comfortable at Bucknell, so it was home. I was never as at ease while at grad school in Virginia, and despite all efforts, Troy, NY, never managed to assimilate me. Thanks to my fond memories, Lewisburg, PA, is what I’ve considered to be home the past couple of years.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to call Queens home.

On a related note, when do you get too old to use your parents’ attic as temporary storage?