Familiarity sickness

I’ve always been a homebody. Pulling into the family home at the end of a holiday was cause for jubilation more than the beach holiday itself. I put it down to being most comfortable in a familiar setting and home is that place for me.

Only a few months ago I experienced homesickness and gave it some thought and this is what I came up with:

The basis of my understanding is that we don’t really miss home the place, we miss the familiarity it represents. Our minds subconsciously bundle the physical setting of home and the psychological feeling of familiarity because it’s where we most readily define as familiar. This increases the complexity of homesickness and makes us think that home is what we’re missing when really we’re just missing being in a setting we are used to.

Understanding the distinction between missing home and missing familiarity explains how we feel, the decision making its related to and how to overcome it.

Don’t you mean “There’s no place like a familiar place” Dorothy?

The effect of familiarity works both ways; we crave it and we loathe it. Its loathing will push us from the monotonous comfort of a routine to a dreamt of foreign place that is, for use of a better word, unfamiliar. Unfamiliarity is intriguing until it no longer appeases curiosity and replaced by saudade.

Saudade is a Portuguese word that I came across. It’s the perfect word for this purpose and its translation is: “feeling of longing, melancholy and nostalgia”.

When feelings of saudade set in, it’s a sign you’re tired of unfamiliarity and it’s time to be in a setting you can comfortably accustom to. Before too long feelings of boredom will resurface and the same craving will set in. Therein lies the familiarity cycle of sorts. The constant listening to and tinkering of which should give balance.

I could go on about the implications of my theory but I feel understanding it alone is most important.

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