Column: Finding happiness in unexpected places

‘Home is not restricted to one place. Home is a feeling.’


Anna Velazquez

“Today, my home may be in a coffee shop at 6 a.m. and tomorrow it may be my best friend’s backyard while we dance to The Smiths.”

Everyone has something special that brings them comfort unlike any other. Maybe it’s a blanket, maybe it’s a song, maybe it’s a stupid little sweater. Whatever the item may be, those things are there for the good and bad times. Mine just happens to be the 2012 movie rendition of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Now, I know what you’re thinking, how quirky of me. Well lucky for you, quirky is my middle name. 

So here I am, sitting on my couch watching “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” for what might be the fifth time this week. And as always, I get to the tunnel scene and rewatch it at least three times. I’m not really sure what it is, but there is something so intriguing about watching a teenager letting the wind blow through her hair as she rides through a tunnel. It looks like such a special moment.

I yearned to feel like that.

I think it’s a feeling every teenager wishes to experience at least once: that “indie coming-of-age” movie moment that becomes a major turning point in the characters’ story. Those moments of aliveness with the realization that youth doesn’t last forever.

It wasn’t until recently I realized I already had my tunnel moment. 

I can’t pinpoint one exact occasion; it’s a culmination of instances that have made me feel eternal. In those moments, I understand what it means to be at home. There’s a misconception that home is where you live. It has to be a place on a specific street, in a specific town. But it’s not. Home is not restricted to one place. Home is a feeling. The people in your life help you create a home everywhere you go. They make every place feel safe and comfortable. 

You surround yourself with individuals who give meaning to these places. They make eating in the McDonald’s parking lot feel like an event. The place itself isn’t significant, but you remember it because you were overflowing with happiness when you were there. 

Today, my home may be in a coffee shop at 6 a.m. and tomorrow it may be my best friend’s backyard while we dance to The Smiths. Or who knows, home may even be my bed under the notorious butterfly blanket. Regardless of where I am physically, I know I will be at home with my people.

There’s nothing written in the sky saying these friendships are going to last forever. I don’t know where we might be a few years from now. I don’t know who will come in and out of my life, but I’m eternally grateful to have met my Sam and Patrick when I did. Thank you for teaching me what it feels like to be at home.