The Real Meaning of Home

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  • Date:

    March 10, 2020

The Real Meaning of Home


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the true meaning of home. Of course, this may have something to do with my work at Wray Ward, where we spend most of our days creating sound strategies and inspired marketing communications for the home and building category.

But I think it goes much deeper than that.

Perhaps these feelings sprang from the knowledge that my parents are aging, and childhood memories are regularly creeping into my daydreams. Perhaps they started in earnest the day my second child went off to college, making the home we’ve shared for so many years exponentially quieter. Perhaps they increased in perfect lockstep with the global spread of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, and a greater desire to stay close to home for safety and security.

Whatever the primary reason for my own homeward longings, the concept of home is critically important to our collective physical safety and emotional well-being, perhaps more now than ever.

There are many common touchstones for home:

  • “Home Sweet Home.”
  • “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.”
  • “There’s no place like home.”
  • “Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
  • “Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends.”

For some, the notion of home evokes the structure where we live. For others, it references the city or town where we were born or grew up. Regardless, home isn’t just a physical object or place — it’s part of our souls and our self-awareness.

Take a moment to close your eyes and think about what home means to you.

  • What do you see? Maybe it’s the special way morning’s first light wanders through your light-filtering shades and dances on the walls as you come down for breakfast.
  • What do you hear — or not hear? Maybe it’s the quiet, stiff floors that allow you to tiptoe into the nursery and check on your sleeping baby without waking him.
  • What do you smell? Maybe it’s the nourishing, flavorful meal you shared with your family gathered around the kitchen table last weekend.
  • What do you feel? Maybe it’s the refreshing clean sensation you get from your bidet seat, or a digital shower programmed to the perfect temperature after a long day, or the security of knowing your skylights improve the quality of the air your children breathe.

There is something special about coming home. Something so unique that people write songs, books and movies about it.

And yet, it’s difficult for even the best wordsmiths to describe what it feels like to come home after a long time away. It’s far easier to characterize the place you hang your hat as just that — a physical place where you eat, sleep and bathe. But shouldn’t it be more than that? Shouldn’t it be the force that allows you to be your most authentic self? Where you’re surrounded by the things and people that you genuinely love? I don’t know about you, but from the moment I kick off my shoes and curl up on the couch to spend time with my family, I know I’ve entered a kind of utopia, comprised of the colors, images, smells and visual touchpoints that remind me who I am at the core.

I was having dinner with my son during a recent parents’ weekend at college when he said something poignant: “My real home is with you and Dad, but I also have a home with my fraternity brothers that will be a part of me for the rest of my life.”

Perhaps “home” is wherever you feel love and acceptance. A physical sanctuary as well as an emotional oasis for all things we hold dear.

It’s a cornerstone of my work and my life. And I will never, ever take it for granted.

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