We’ve been having a relatively long-running neighbour dispute, despite being good at the rough & tumble which comes with the shared space aspect of apartment living. I won’t go into the detail of the dispute, ‘cos it’s all a bit unnecessary and silly, especially when you consider the current state of the world. But, at the end of yet another disagreement, I went inside our ground level apartment and drew the curtains shut. For the next few days, I kept those curtains closed, for I felt emotional, and even a tad vulnerable.
Of course I’ve now gotten over myself and regained my equilibrium, but can’t say I’m full of the milk of human kindness towards certain neighbours. Despite that, I’ve drawn a line under the dispute. There is only one way for the situation to be fixed, and it’s not in my power, so I needed to make that decision.
But the experience caused me to muse – once again – on the subject of “belongingness”. When first learning of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs during my Psychology studies, its simple message chimed with me – but it also identified a fairly constant gap in my life. What’s clear to me is that the majority of people know where they belong, for it’s where they were born/grew up, where their friends & loved ones are, where their life is, where they’ve put down roots. But when you’ve had an itinerant childhood (and/or life), it’s not so clear cut.
I’ve been an outsider for most of my life – feeling at home in a country where I looked different to the population, then feeling like an alien in a country where I looked like the white majority. I grew up with many who had similar experiences, and have often pondered if I’m alone in my feeling of having roots which struggle to get down deeper than the top layer of soil.
For a few years in my fifties, I lived in a small town, had friends in the local community, a local (pub) and rugby club, and an active & lively social life. I was happy, at ease, and felt I was home. I was ready to put those roots down properly… until family needs meant I had to relocate and – over time – those local ties have dwindled under pressure of distance.
Life has changed significantly since that time. My father died and my mother had to sell their home of 40 years. I no longer live alone but with Himself, and our current residence was chosen for its convenience to Himself’s work. It provided us with an opportunity to get a feel for the area, to decide if it was somewhere we wanted to stay long-term. And there’s no doubting we like it – the lower traffic levels, the rural nature of our surroundings, the slower pace of life, the shorter drive to the seaside – and yet…
Having sought to address this with practicalities and mindset work, the truth is that Brexit and the political situation have made me feel unsettled and unsure. So, what makes this country home right now is primarily the presence of my daughter and my grandchildren, and I have to acknowledge that’s may not be enough to feel I truly belong – especially as they’ve expressed a (not so) secret desire to escape to Europe one day, which I wouldn’t mind… at all 🙂
What makes where you live feel like home? Have you ever felt you didn’t belong? If so, how did you resolve it?
© Debra Carey, 2022