By Elvis Wong

One comfort. One place. One family. Many lasting memories. Home: the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
Home is that moment in the kitchen with your mother, learning how to bake warm and delicious cookies while stealthily sneaking uncooked cookie dough into your mouth with your filthy fingers and even filthier fingernails.
Home is that day you bask in the heat and glory of the sun on a scorching summer day in your backyard, a glass of lemonade in one hand, a Fudgcicle in the other and a noodle wrapped around your waist as you watch your siblings wrestle each other in the inflatable pool.
Home is that time when you pretend that the ground is hot lava and you throw pillows everywhere, so you can walk around your house without getting burned.
To most people, these definitions of home may hit home just right. Some consider their home to be found with certain places, while others consider their home to be associated with certain people.
But for me, home is different.
During the fall of 2008 when I first began to live on my own, in my same old house, I began to question my sense of a home. The reality was I didn’t have a family anymore.
While I still had my friends with me and I was still physically living in my house and in the town where I grew up most of my life, there was a void in my life. I was lonely.
At this time, I gradually adapted to my surroundings. Even though I didn’t want to, I realized that I was changing.
I used to hate change so much. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to move when my family left me behind in Petaluma. But after a few years, I got used it.
I used to think to myself, “Man, it must really suck for people to not have any family living with them. Don’t they ever get lonely?”
But recently, I have found myself in that exact position: I was that person who on Saturday night ate dinner at Quiznos by himself; I was that person who spent their Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter alone; and I was that person who didn’t talk to anyone because I would lock myself in my room every day after school.
However, with time, I grew more independent. I detached myself from my family and now I am no longer emotionally in need of a home revolving around my biological family because my definition of home is found within myself.
I know that life after high school will still be difficult, but I have already grown one step closer to truly being an individual—an individual not necessarily labeled by certain places or people.
Through my definition of home, I have defined myself in a new way; I get to choose what and where my own home is.
And even though our different definitions of home may change with time, our memories that help us define home will always remain the same.