Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘house’

There’s (Still) No Place Like Home

From Sunday musings…

The unforeseen consequences of otherwise positive trends can be quite interesting. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, one never knows where the ripples will end up and how powerful they will be when they get there. For example, our mobile economy has largely liberated our young people from place. In turn, despite historically “easy” mortgage money, the prevailing trend in our young people is away from owning a home and toward serial rentals.

Domiciles as opposed to homes.

What makes this all the more poignant is watching how desperately our parents’ generation clings to their places, how they cling to their homes. It’s more than staying in their home communities; they hunker down and bunker into the physical space that is the home itself, oft times beyond the point of reason. Clan White witnessed this as my Mom and Dad dug in and insisted on staying in the same house in which they raised their kids long after it was actually unsafe to do so. Sadly, Beth and I are about to embark on a “Groundhog Day” journey after a dismal diagnosis was announced this weekend and her folks hunker down in the home.

Why is it that a house becomes so much more than just an address, a place to lay one’s head? Why does it become so hard to leave a space even after it is clear that the space itself has become a problem? At least a part of this is quite simple and straightforward, and holds an important lesson for our young transients. There is a substantial emotional commitment to place when you own it. Once you’ve made that commitment the four walls of the house come to contain not only the life you are living but also all of the memories of the life you lived.

It’s funny…even houses that folks really don’t like become so full of memories that they become almost impossible to leave. The house of my youth long ago outgrew my parents’ life, and yet there remains my Mom, bouncing around like the BB in one of those big glass box mazes. My in-laws live far, far away from the people and the things they will need, but for the moment they, too, have dug in their heels. On balance the comfort of home trumps all objective reasons to leave a house.

And the lesson for those of you who are early in your journey? At some point it clearly seems that finding your place is important, and once having done so making that commitment to the physical space that will become your home appears to be important, too. The details about the space may very well be irrelevant. Heck, as our folks demonstrate the physical attributes may even be a net negative at some point. Still, there’s just something about having a space of your own, something about everything that goes into actually owning your home.

As trite as it is, our parents are holding fast to this to the very end: there’s no place like home.