The definition of a home varies from person to person. For some, it is simply their current place of residence. But for many, a place must fulfil certain criteria before it could be considered a true “home”.
For some, a home is a place of rest. It is a peaceful place where they can lay their weary heads to rest. A place where the chaos and pains of the world cannot touch you. A place where you can feel safe in your own space.
For others, it is a place of connection. A place they share with the people they love, whether it be a significant other, family or close friends. It is a place where you can connect intimately with someone at the deepest level, as you would only invite someone you wholly trust to your sanctum.
Much like many questions, this is one where there is no one true answer. Everyone would have their own reason as to why their home is a true home. For myself, a home is a home when there is normal, day-to-day domestic things going on, such as someone cooking up a meal or resting to some music.
Whatever your reason may be, the question is worth pondering because once you have figured it out, you will never feel lost in life.
When children grow up and learn to become independent, parents must let go of their children and allow them to fly free. However, it is the inevitable human condition that the parents will be saddened by this change. For many parents, the moving out of their children can lead to depression and a loss in purpose. This phenomenon has been named empty nest syndrome as it happens as the children leave the metaphorical nest that is home.
As obvious as it sounds, empty nest syndrome can have a serious effect on the parent’s well-being. Common symptoms include depression, loss of purpose, anxiety, stress and a feeling of rejection. The suffering parent continues to obsess whether they brought up their child in a way to prepare them for the big world. At the same time, they feel that they are losing their identity as a “parent” – something they may have defined themselves as while they were bringing up the child. They may also feel rejected as they may believe that the child “does not need them anymore”. It has been observed that mothers are more likely to suffer empty nest syndrome (occasionally, menopause may be a confounding factor). Other factors that contribute are parents who find change difficult, have an unstable relationship with their spouse or those with an unhealthy obsession with their children or with the idea of being a parent.
Empty nest syndrome is a natural part of parenthood, but it is important to know how to prevent it from becoming too severe. The best way to cope with this syndrome is to keep in touch with the children and accept that they are young adults who are moving on with their life. Not only that, but the parents must also recognise that a new era has begun for them as well. This is important as failure to do so will lead to the identity crisis mentioned above. A good way to remedy this is through discovering hobbies and interests while maintaining healthy social networks with other people. Essentially, the parents have to “begin a new life”, just like their children. It is also worth noting that it helps if the children recognise this as well and try to keep in touch with their parents to make sure they are coping well without them.
There is an extremely entertaining experiment that can be done with two simple ingredients found in the local supermarket: Mentos mints and Diet Coke (it is more effective than original Coke). The experiment procedure is as following:
After opening the bottle, quickly drop the Mentos in to the Diet Coke. Run.
As soon as the Mentos falls in, the Coke spurts foam explosively, which shoots up to great heights. Depending on the temperature of the Coke (the warmer the better) and the number of Mentos mints (it is more effective to thread them and drop them all at once), the pillar of foam can rise to a few metres.
This fascinating phenomenon is not caused purely by a chemical reaction, but has more to do with physics. Mentos mints are coated with menthol, which has numerous microscopic dents. When it enters the Coke, the dissolved carbon dioxide forms bubbles that collect in these pits. As they collect, the bubbles expand until the pressure builds past a certain level, causing an explosion.
The most important point is that if this experiment is not performed outside, one could end up cleaning a sticky room for days.