Living in Arizona, it doesn’t feel like home. Arizona just happens to be where my house is located, but the Arizona I see through my windows doesn’t feel like home. But what exactly makes home…well, home?
There are two definitions of the noun home that really stand out and apply:
- a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
- the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
The “usual residence of a person” is a house. It’s a structure where you lay down at night and where you keep all your stuff. For me, inside my house feels like a home because the people I love live with me. The problem for someone like me who lives in Arizona and hates it, what lies outside of that house feels nothing like home.
The second definition describing “domestic affections” as home is very powerful and meaningful. My domestic affections are elsewhere, far away from the Arizona desert. The place I grew up and refer to as home is thousands of miles away.
When I go on vacation to leave Arizona and visit my home (where my domestic affections are centered), I unfortunately must return. When I return to Arizona, I don’t tell people I’m going home. Rather, I tell them, “I have to go back.”
Trying to Make Arizona Home When It’s Not
For the past 12 years, I’ve tried my hardest to make Arizona home. I’ve been told it should feel like home because it’s where my immediate family is and that home is where ever they are. I tried to believe that, and I think I did for a while. Then, I awoke to the realization of Arizona being a horrible place to raise a family.
I was lucky enough to meet a family in Arizona who moved to the desert from the same area I grew up in. They were a happy family of four and great people. They brought a piece of home with them, and it was refreshing. Sadly, it only took two years for them to move back and leave the desert behind. When they left, that piece of home left me. Thankfully, it made me realize home cannot be defined simply as the location of your immediate family. I later learned they held the same opinion of Arizona as I.
Another method I tried to make Arizona feel more like home was to purchase a home outside of the cookie-cutter neighborhoods where I had a large yard and room to run around. My first thought while purchasing the home was, “Well, this awesome house should help me deal with living in Arizona.”
To a degree, it helped. I love the house I live in, but I hate what is outside! I still don’t know my neighbors, and people walking by don’t stop by to chat or even wave as you pass by!
I’ve come to the realization Arizona will never be home, and it’s time to plan my escape from the desert.
So, how does one combine the “usual residence of a person” AND “domestic affections” in one place? Everyone’s situation is different, and you have to really think about where you can live in a place where you love what is outside of your house as much as what’s inside.
What helped me was to write out a “T-Chart” with the pros and cons of staying and living in Arizona. I was surprised to see most of the pros involved my career (advancement, pay, retirement, etc.). There was absolutely NOTHING in the pro column regarding personal happiness and fulfillment.
In your situation, think of yourself in your death bed with family surrounding you. Did you live a good life? Were you happy with the decisions you made? Did you have a happy life? Were you glad you stayed in Arizona?
For me, I’ve decided my career can no longer be the chains restraining me in Arizona. I am willing to accept a lower wage in order to live a happier life. Starting over is a very scary thought, but it’s time to leave Arizona.
It’s time to go home.
No Arizona provides information about Arizona and reveals the truth about life in the desert based on facts and observations.
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