I took my son and his friend this weekend to introduce them to a band I love to see live, The Killers.
I saw them in Hyde Park in 2011 and I’ve seen them several times since. I'm one of those who loves to watch bands evolve over the years. In my opinion, Brandon Flowers has become one of the best frontmen out there today.
But this isn’t an ode to a band I love.
Their visual display always has images of Las Vegas, their hometown.
When I saw them a couple of years ago, they really pulled on my heartstrings. Images of the desert that I miss so much. Pictures of the band members as kids at the same ghost towns I was taken to as a child.
There were fewer images of Vegas this time, but they still got me.
Seeing The Killers always gets me thinking about home and what it means.
“Home” is a tricky one isn’t it?
“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home is where the people you love are.”
“Home is what makes you.”
Google the word “home” and you might start to think Etsy was created just to carry artwork of quotes about what it means.
I last lived in Las Vegas full-time in 1986. I went North to Reno for university and spent the next four years only coming back to Vegas over holidays and never longer than two weeks at a time.
I’ve not been back since 2014. I have no family left in the States and my friends are spread out across the country now.
I am settled here in the UK. I feel like it’s home most of the time. But that last time I flew back to Vegas? Well, looking down at the Nevada desert for the first time in a very long time, I cried.
I had been through so much, lost my way a bit, been through so much loss and change. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of needing to be around people who knew me when I was growing up.
The concept of “home” can be especially tough when you’re living an expat life.
You get dumped into a culture you didn’t grow up in, you have to play catch up to understand centuries of history, of politics, the evolution of socio-economic strata.
I have often wondered what my life would have been if I had stayed in the States. I’ve had a wonderful life so far here in the UK and, while I’m sure it would have been just as amazing there, I’ve had opportunities in London I can’t imagine I would have had if I had stayed in Vegas.
Home means something different to each and everyone of us. I have friends who are living and raising their kids a few blocks from where they were raised, who have never lived anywhere else. I have friends that have lived all over the world, in places where the cultural gap is enormous.
Brandon Flowers did a lovely bit on Saturday about how the UK will always have a special place in the hearts of every member of the band. The UK was the first place to fully embrace their sound, to give them their first record deal (which he called their last chance) and last year they made history by spending the weekly equivalent of a full FIVE YEARS in the UK Top 100 with Mr Brightside.
So maybe, just maybe, we actually have more than one home.
The home that raised us is the first one.
Most of us will go on to create a home that we share with people we love, people we chose to bring into our lives.
And maybe, somewhere between those two or as a combination of both, we have another home.
The one that challenges us. That makes us grow.
The one that houses us when we’re broken. The one that comforts us as we heal.
The home that makes us the person we want to be. A home where we finally start to feel comfortable in our own skin.
The one where we learn to take responsibility for the direction of our life, to step into our own personal leadership. Where we drive life to happen through us instead of to us.
Maybe that home resides in ourselves.
Something along the lines of this definition, found (where else) on Etsy.
“Home – the story of who we are and a collection of all we love.”