How do we find home? What makes a Californian?

July 13, 2021

CalifornianThis question is current for me, as I start to look ahead, further out than I’ve ever looked.

Looking through a telescope at the far horizon seems to be a function of aging. As my California circle gets smaller and smaller and my global circle larger, the question comes up: Where do I really belong?

The answer isn’t simple.

My husband would be more than happy living full-time in our small second home in our hometown. He IS and always has been a Rochesterian, the place embossed upon him like a brand, even when he purported to hate it.  Home, it says.

I called no place “home”

Me? Not so much. The place passed over me. Not like the plague, exactly, but it never did touch me in that way. I do love being there some of the time, but it’s never been home. Not even when I was too young to understand I had choices and that I could call someplace else home.

No, even then, I called no place home.

Not Tallahassee, Fla. or Tampa, Fla., both places I lived for significant periods of time.


But, as it turns out, I DID find home.

California is home and I am…a Californian.

And yet, attrition eats away at the human things that make California home. Loving friends. Fun companions. People I can count on. Some have died, some moved and some have simply moved on.

Can I replace them? I’m not so sure. History is an important bond and that takes time to build. Time that I may not have at my age. Older age is a time to relax at home, to bask in home. But what about when those last loved ones are gone? Will California still be home?

And so I ask myself, could I really live anywhere else? And what does it mean to be a Californian?

How does one describe a very personal intangible? Oh, I know, poets and other writers have done so. But I haven’t found the words, not yet.

I can say that I click with nature…. and the mores and the attitudes… and the openness of minds … and the beauty….


That doesn’t even begin to explain it.



It’s a California thing for me, that click.

It’s too late to find that click anywhere else.

It whispers “California.”

It will never whisper anything else.



7 comments on “How do we find home? What makes a Californian?
  1. Diane says:

    It’s a wonderful thing when you find your place. It just seeps into your bones and becomes a part of you, doesn’t it?! Milk River, Alberta will always be that for me. I lived there only for the first 19 years of my life and, let’s face it, I’ve lived for a LOT more years outside it, but it will always be ‘home’ to me!

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    I can see you in California easily — the open lifestyle, the beautiful terrain, the progressive parts of the state. Wherever you go, hope you’re happy.

  3. Betty says:

    As a fellow Californian, I can relate. But for me, I’ve never lived anywhere else.

  4. Lynda Beth Unkeless says:

    I have tried very intentionally to leave California three times.
    Always high-tailing it back and relieved and overjoyed to be here again.
    On trips to some of the world’s most beautiful foreign locations, I’d look and say “I know some place in California this looks just like…or is even more beautiful…”
    As I prepare to visit Big Sur this week, I am so lucky to still live here, and enjoy the ineffable that makes California my home. For better and for worse. Thank you for writing how I feel about The Golden State!

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