by Kassandra Lamb (see Part 1, Pulling Up Roots here)
So my little summer cottage/writer’s retreat is sold. A nice young man now owns it, and I don’t. I’m having very mixed emotions about that.
I put a lot of effort into fixing that little house up, making it cute and cozy. And I wrote a lot of good words in my writer’s cave there. Also, letting the house go means one less link with my home state of Maryland. But I’m very, very relieved to be rid of the maintenance headaches that had gotten worse as the house aged.
This has gotten me thinking about why it is hard sometimes to let go… of people, but also of the places we have called home.
We humans are innately social beings.
We are herd animals. Like horses and
wolves, we instinctively know that we
need to band together in order to
The need for connection to others is so important that the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow made belongingness and love the third tier in his well-known hierarchy of needs. We need what he referred to as the three A’s of belongingness–affiliation, acceptance and affection. These needs take a backseat only to basic physical and safety needs.
I’m realizing as I’m writing this that the need for connection to others is the reason people read fiction. We so strongly want to feel connected that we don’t even mind if the people we’re connecting with are figments of an author’s imagination! And many readers, myself included, particularly like series, so we can stay connected to the same characters book after book.
But why do we connect with a place?
Most humans also feel a need/desire to have a “home.” This is not just a female thing. I know plenty of men who have a strong sense of home. We are not so different from the fox, burrowing into his den at night, snug and safe (Maslow’s second tier).
Now I have to let go of my little “den” up north. I will focus on my home here in Florida and on my friends and family scattered around the country. I have plenty of connections to replace the ones I’m losing. But still it isn’t easy, this letting go.
How about you? How strongly do you feel the need for connection? Are you a homebody who becomes attached to places as well as people?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.
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Shannon EspositoApril 8, 2014 at 8:47 am
Is it bad that I enjoy the connections of fictitious people more than real ones? 😛 I know… a whole other blog post, right? lol! I think I may have some gypsy blood in me because I would much rather be traveling the world living out of hotels than live in the same house year after year. But, as a mom, I do realize kids need stability so I will nest until the birdies fly away.
Kassandra LambApril 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm
I think it’s okay, Shannon, as long as you do know that they are fictitious. That line can be a thin one, however, for us writers. I know there are days when my characters seem more real to me than the people populating my life. 😉
K.B. OwenApril 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm
Great post, Kass! I am the opposite of Shannon: I love hearth and home. Trips to other places are enriching and I should probably do more of that sort of thing, but I’m always happiest when I return home. When my parents sold their house – my home for the last 14 years of my childhood, and then the place we would come back to stay when visiting them for another 25 years – I felt really disconnected to my past. I still had my parents, though, which helped, and I knew it was harder on them.
But human beings are nothing if not adaptable, right? 😉
Kassandra LambApril 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm
It’s a good thing that we are adaptable, Kathy, ’cause life sure does throw changes at us sometimes. Thirty-nine years! That’s a long time to call one place home-base. I guess it would be hard to adjust to losing that.
Personally I love to travel, but still nothing beats coming home again!
Karen McFarlandApril 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Oh wow Kassandra, are you ever speaking my language. I just got off the phone with my oldest son who lives in another state. Man, do I miss him. *sniff* I have this need to keep in touch with my chicks. My husband is that way too, although not as vocal. Yet, on the other hand, I’ve always loved to travel. I could stay away for weeks and it never bothered me. I love people and places. For me, it’s a form of education. I enjoy learning about what makes others tick or the history of a certain area/setting. I love how we are all so different, yet underneath the surface, the same. I know you will miss your little cottage that you put so much effort into. It’s hard to say good-bye to fond memories. But it’s interesting how many people are simplifying their lives right now. I’m sure you’ll find it somewhat of a relief to not have to care for both places. Sometimes it just gets to be too much. Change can be tough, but good. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. 🙂 ((Hugs!))
Kassandra LambApril 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Thanks for your supportive words, Karen. This is definitely a good but tough change for me. Maintaining both houses had gotten to be more than we could handle, both financially and energy-wise.
And boy do I know what you mean about missing the chicks. My son is 34 but I still worry about him, and it gladdens my heart when I hear his voice!
Kirsten WeissApril 8, 2014 at 10:08 pm
My sister and I are super close (so close, people often mistake us for twins though we’re ten years apart). She’s moving to another state, and it’s really knocked me for a loop. I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s hard to let go.
Kassandra LambApril 8, 2014 at 10:40 pm
I don’t think that’s ridiculous at all, Kirsten. Siblings are very special people. They are family and friends wrapped up in one. Hope she’s not moving too far away!
Vinnie HansenApril 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm
I grew up in the same house in Philip, South Dakota, from the time I was a baby until I graduated from high school. Although I jumped in a car and left town the day after graduation, that house and Philip, South Dakota, remain my geographical center.
My mother, who is 94, recently sold the house to my brother and his son. I’m glad that the place is staying in the family, but they are already busy at work making changes. My mother has not lived there for four years, but I understand her sadness at letting it go.
Kassandra LambApril 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm
No wonder your mom is feeling sad, Vinnie, after living in that same house for so long! But it’s great that it could stay in the family.
I think you nailed what I’m going through. It isn’t just letting go of that house. It’s the loss of that geographical center. I do feel very much “at home” in Florida after a decade down here, but still, Maryland was that center for so very long for me. I’m not feeling quite so anchored in the world right now.
Pirkko RytkonenApril 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm
Thanks for a great post. My life has been one of letting go at so many levels that maybe one day I will write about it as a legacy? You made a good choice by selling one home and moving to another one in the sunshine state. It’s easier for us to maintain one home and make life more simple. I love to travel and even right now we’re in Hawaii for a few weeks to get away from the snow. Not missing home yet!
Kassandra LambApril 9, 2014 at 10:57 pm
I think that is life, Pirkko… a whole series of connections and then letting go and moving on. I am glad, though, to have a simpler life now, with just one house to worry about. Still, a little sad.
And I am so envious of you down there in Hawaii. It is at the top of my travel wish list. Hope you’re having a great time!!