The idea of home is so complex. What is home, and why is it different for everyone? Is it a feeling, or a place? Do people who move a lot during their childhood, not know of this phenomenon?
They say you grow where you are planted, and for me that would be New Jersey. My earliest days were spent riding my battery-operated Barbie Jeep around the cul-de-sac in front of the little townhouse I called home in Glassboro, New Jersey.
Despite only living in New Jersey for my first five years, I still get this sense of completion when I’m in the state.
Similar to how Joe Biden gives this weird homage to Scranton even though he only lived here until he was 11. Mr. Vice President, Sir — if you are reading this, I get it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with attempting to relive the glory days in your home state.
For this very reason, one place I associate with ‘home’ is Ocean City, New Jersey. I wasn’t born in this beach town, but it is one place that has remained consistent in my life throughout my 20 years.
I don’t know what it is about this beach in particular but every time I am there I feel like my truest self. My mom wrote in my baby book that she took me for my first trip to the beach in Ocean City, when I was 6 weeks old. She walked with me in a carrier on her chest for an evening stroll along the water.
Ever since that time, when I think of my ‘happy place’ it is always Ocean City.
Right as the sun begins to set, I like to take a walk down to the beach. I usually start at the entrance on 17th street and from there follow the beach down the earlier street numbers and watch as things gets increasingly more populated. By this point in the day, the sand is cool against my feet and the sky is marbled pink and blue, like the cotton candy they sell on the boardwalk. The waves create constant audio as they crash down on the water, while the seagulls compete with their loud calls. Together both sounds mask the arcade games that echo from the distance. I walk where the water hits my feet but not for long, eventually I am in up to my knees
The water is what makes the whole trip worthwhile. Something about the ocean makes me feel alive. I like to swim out past the waves and float on my back as the little mounds that turn into waves run up and down my body. As a typical control freak, this is my time to hand over my power and trust the ocean.
For there is something about encountering this large mass of water that makes me the most fearless I have ever been.
Perhaps this stems my draw to this beach town, the bravery that comes when the ocean is in my presence. Perhaps that is what ignites my truest self, the self that makes me feel like I am home.