As children, we don’t have any say as to what type of home we live in, how big it is, or what city it is in. It’s just home – whether it’s a single family detached home, a duplex, a townhome, a rental apartment, a manufactured or mobile home, a tiny home, or in a condominium building. In fact, we don’t even think that much about it until we start going to school or having friends outside our immediate neighborhood or block and get a chance to compare the homes that our friends live in with ours.
We may discover that other people – even our grandparents, aunts, and uncles – live in homes smaller or larger than ours or that they seem to be nicer or not as nice and that those homes have more furniture and accessories than our or less. They may have various collectibles, artifacts, artwork, and valuable items on display, or they may not be that different than our home.
We have a large emotional attachment to our home as a child because it is our world at that point in our lives, but our experiences in visiting other homes help us form opinions about our home that we will take with us as we grow. we really like our home and what it represents to us – creating a lifetime attachment to it – or we can’t wait until a time when we can get our own home and have something very different than our childhood home.
In those years while we are living at home, we may live in the same home in the small town, big city, farmstead, or medium-size town or village the entire time of our childhood, or we may live in several different homes. We may move frequently and live in several different cities and styles of homes. Of course, none of this is our doing – we just go where our family takes us. We likely have no say in the matter. Possibly we might be consulted for our approval after our parents have identified a home they like. If we adamantly object for some reason, that might carry some weight. It might not as it is their decision.
Once we leave our parent’s home (or in some cases a foster home or our grandparent’s or other relative’s home, depending on how we were raised) to get an apartment, go off to college (living in a dorm or an off-campus apartment – on our own or with roommates), join the military, or perhaps even purchase our first home, our housing choices and experiences become our responsibility. They are driven by where we need to live (the city or the area within the city that is close to where we will be working or going to school) and what type of dwelling we can get for the money we have available for rent or a monthly mortgage. Money is the big deciding factor, and then we make choices based on what we can afford.
Then comes that first professional position, and we can afford a nicer, larger home – or one in a better location. There likely, but not necessarily, will be others over the years in the same city if we have our own roots and remain there, or in various cities where our career takes us. Some will be rentals and some probably will be purchases.
Some people live their entire lives in the same home – never moving from the home they were born. Sometimes that is a generational home where their parents or grandparents lived their entire lives as well. Others will live in a dozen or more different homes and apartments. Along the way, however, we will find a home that we really like – one that we would be happy to stay in and not be interested in leaving. We likely will have used our childhood memories of what we like in a home or those honed over the years from our other residential experiences. It’s a little like dating – sometimes we find our soulmate on the first attempt and sometimes it takes dozens of tries.
When we find that lifetime home – at whatever age that might be, and even if it’s on the very first attempt – we begin to develop a close relationship with it and take care of it so that it can take care of us as well. This is the foundation for a successful aging in place relationship and experience between us and our home. We learn to rely on our home, and home, in turn, is there for us. We take care of it and nurture it so that over the years that we spend together, it can provide the security, protection, enjoyment, comfort, and peace-of-mind that we seek in our private retreat where we can protect ourselves from the outside world.