On Love That Feels Like Home

I told a friend, many months ago now, to never settle for love until she found the person that felt like home. At the time, I was still desperately trying to convince myself that I was in love with the person that I was dating, because I was in too deep and could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel that was leaving. I told her never to settle without telling her that I had failed to take my own advice. And then everything changed. I found my way to the end of that tunnel and into a life (and a love) that’s awash with the light that I thought had been all but snuffed out. It made me ponder what exactly the phrase “the person who feels like home” should mean to someone that’s never felt it before.

The person who feels like home will make you laugh until your ribs ache; they will make you smile so frequently and for so long that your cheeks feel like they’ll split, but you won’t complain. They will let you cry to them, and they will cry with you. They will inspire you to be adventurous, to try foods you always thought you’d hate, to do things you never thought you’d do, because with them, you’ll no longer be afraid of failure. They’ll remind you that feeling like home doesn’t mean you always feel safe and comfortable: it means knowing that you’ll be okay even when you don’t.

When you find the person who feels like home, you’ll look both ways for cars an extra time or two before pulling into traffic, without realizing it, because your life suddenly feels more worth preserving. You will realize that, perhaps for the first time in a long time, you will be able to be alone with your thoughts without feeling haunted. You will feel at peace with yourself. You will find yourself more impassioned to do the things you love, because your partner will also be your muse. You will find yourself smiling at strangers in grocery stores and on the street because your soul just feels lighter.

You will find that their breath on your neck at 4 a.m. while they sleep beside you reminds you of the summer breeze that spelled out your childhood; you will find that the color of their preferred blend of coffee reminds you of the dark-skinned woman you briefly fell in love with on the street because she smiled at you so warmly after a too-long day. You will find that their vices are the best kind of poison. They will make you fall in love with the world. They will make you fall in love with the life you lead, even if it takes place largely between shabby apartment walls, on a stained mattress, with a few rusty pots and pans and some plastic silverware.

Before I found that person for me, I went through most of my days with my shoulders slouched and my head down, always eager to fold up so tightly inside myself that I might cease to exist; I made myself feel small. No more. When you find the person who feels like home, you are reminded — or perhaps you learn for the first time — that you are more intricately a part of this universe than you will ever truly understand. Everything feels more beautiful, even in a world that seems desolate and lost.

Feeling like you’re home in a person makes you want to grow and expand and flourish. It becomes impossible to settle, because you’re always striving for more — together.

Nothing we experience in this life will come to us without hardship, without pain. Even the best love must be nurtured, just like a home must be cared for and maintained. The love will come effortlessly to you, but do not let it make you lazy: cherish it, foster it, never let it go unappreciated. Love comes to us in many forms throughout our lives, and sometimes they are toxic despite being alluring. Never. Settle.

When you find your person, the one who feels like home, it will bring peace to your soul and set it ablaze all at once. Your heart, after reaching blindly into the ether for so long, will breathe a sigh of relief: “Oh, there you are. I’ve been waiting for you.

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