There's no place like home
My search for meaningful connection
It was over thirty-five years ago, but standing here now it feels like yesterday. As I move from room to room in the house I grew up in, the memories rush back.
Playing Horace and the Spiders on the ZX Spectrum with my brother, listening to my grandad’s stories before he went to bed, reading Enid Blyton books under the bedcovers when I was supposed to be asleep, practising my netball in the garden until it got dark.
The scenes go through my head with a level of detail that I had previously forgotten.
My childhood home is being sold and I have come to say a final goodbye. Soon another family will be living here building their own memories. I look around at all the special touches my parents have made over the years to make it their own, knowing that a new family will shortly be here putting their stamp on it.
Some of the most significant events in my life have taken place right here. I started playgroup, became a teenager, passed my exams, went to university, started my first job. Every different stage of my life took place whilst I was under this roof.
There were many highs. I was filled with a genuine hope and sense of excitement for the future.
But there were also some lows. This is where I hit rock bottom in the full depths of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
As I walk around, I take photos of every corner of this house – will I ever look at these photos again? Who knows. But knowing I have this little bit of my past with me on my phone brings me comfort.
In many ways I long to go back to the time when I lounged about the bedroom as a teenager, listening to my music loudly, studying for exams, rebelling against my parents. It was a time when everything seemed possible, whatever I wanted was within my grasp.
But I can’t go back. None of us can. All I can do is take this moment and live in it. I can learn from the past and use it to help make me a better person. Now. In the present.
If ever I felt a sense of connection, it is here in this box-shaped, traditional semi-detached house. All the houses on this street look identical from the outside, but this one is particularly special. This one holds my memories.
The sound of the stair that creaks, the low hum of the passing traffic, the loud voices in the garage opposite, the constantly hooting owl – everything is so familiar and safe. Standing here, I know that I am home. This, to me, is what genuine connection feels like.
This is what makes my experiment significant. This is the feeling that I am looking for, this is what I want to experience, this is what I am searching for as I move forward.