Is There Any Place like Home?
Being away from home is a mixed blessing. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a home is “the fixed residence of a family or household” while loneliness is “the condition of being alone or solitary” (OED online, http://dictionary.oed.com/). From my own perspective, the disadvantages of being away from home outweigh the advantages. I would like to talk on the importance of family relationships, the reasons why people leave their homes and the effects of loneliness on an individual.
Family relationship is the most essential relationship. This is because it benefits each and every member in terms of encouragement, love, success and so many more. Also, the young members (children) of the family look up to either their parents or any other older relatives (siblings, uncles, aunts). For example, when a child has a problem, be it in academics, social activities or personal affairs, he/she feels free sharing it with any member of the family or close relatives rather than a stranger who can be a friend or schoolmate. Well, from my own experience, the relationship I am having with my parents, especially my mother, has helped me understand them more by knowing what they expect of me. Consequently, I was able to know my right from left in terms of decision making and that there is more to life than petty wishes. Nevertheless, I believe family relationship is the foundation to living a flourishing life and developing subsequent relationships with people you encounter during the course of your life.
There are various reasons why people leave their homes. Some of the reasons are: Educational purposes, maturity (or independence), squabbles with family member(s) or to find greener pastures. Examples of people that leave their homes to pursue education are international students. As at last year, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistical data, the total number of international students currently studying at higher education institutions in the UK stood at 341,790 (UKCISA, http://www.ukcosa.org.uk/). This figure shows that quite a number of students come abroad, some travelling out of their countries for the first time in the lives, to study in a completely different environment. Some of these students find it hard to meet new friends and sometimes become homesick. This affects them in a negative way, drifting them away from their studies into reminiscing about their past activities. Also, when a child matures after residing with his/her parent for a very long time, they gain independence. After gaining this so-called independence, they move out to live on their own or move in with friends or a partner. This is inevitable because every child has to be independent when they are responsible enough to take care of their own business. Conflict in homes can lead to diversity. Diversity, in terms of differences when they squabble or disagree on some pressing issues regarding the family as a whole. People excuse themselves when issues start to rear its ugly face; this is done to prevent verbal and physical abuses. Owing to bad economy in under-developed countries, a large number of people migrate to developed countries to seek better opportunities in their lives. Most of them prefer to stay than going back but deep down inside they are lonely and need the comfort of their family members.
Loneliness as I have defined above is the condition of being alone or solitary. Well, one is said to be alone when they are isolated from others or when they seclude themselves from others. Children with divorced parents have this feeling of loneliness when they are forced to live without both parents. This tends to have some psychological effects which later moulds the child negatively. Subsequently, the child may grow in this negativity and either prefers one parent to the other or dislikes both parents due to separation. “Loneliness has been linked to heart disease as well as emotional problems, such as anxiety, self-esteem problems and sociability” (BBC News, 2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/ ). People that are always isolated from social activities risk their lives by degrading their health. Researchers at the Framingham Heart Study investigated cases of heart inflammation in both men and women. The results showed clearly that more men suffered from the disease due to social isolation (BBC News, 2005: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4498559.stm). This can subsequently lead to an increase in mortality rate which leads to a decline in the work force in society.
In summary, to an extent it is good to be away from home. But as I have stated it has some adverse effects on an individual. The most important and undying relationship one can ever have is that with the people that love them. Also, people have different reasons and intentions of journeying out of their comfort zones at home to foreign lands. Furthermore, loneliness can be regarded as suicidal (i.e. it kills) because a lonely person is as good as a dead man
BBC News (2005) Loneliness could be in your genes [Internet]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4426184.stm (Accessed 14 July 2009)
BBC News (2005) Lonely men ‘have high heart risk’ [Internet]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4498559.stm (Accessed 14 July 2009)
Prosser, J. No Place Like Home: The Transgendered Narrative of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. MFS Modern Fiction Studies, 41 (3-4), pp. 483-514.
UKCISA (2008) Higher education statistics [Internet], Available: http://www.ukcosa.org.uk/about/statistics_he.php (Accessed 28 July 2009)
Wiseman, H. (1997) Far away from home : The loneliness experience of overseas students. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 16 (3), pp. 277-298.
Younge, G. (2002) No Place Like Home: A Black Briton’s Journey through the American South. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.