In all my living, albeit how little it has been so far, I have learned what separates a good life from whatever the alternative may be. It is the longing for your normal day. That is what tells you your life is at par with what you want it to be at any given point in time. If you ever find yourself in another city or at someone else’s house with an overnight bag, and if the only thought in your head is how you’d like to go back to your life, to your room, to your coffee shop, as quickly as possible, and if this thought does not arise out of some obligation or pending chores or responsibility but only as a feeling of longing, then you can rest assured. You have built a good life for whoever you are at the moment. A good life is the life you cannot wait to return to, the one you long to continue living.
But until you leave, for whatever purpose, you will not feel this longing, so you will not know. To recognise a good life, you must step out of it. It is the standard formula of loss—you long for what is not here anymore—only here you can still return. A train ride taken entirely of their own volition can convince a lover to return faster than any pleading. Perhaps, this is why the maxim of letting people go is so universal. If they feel at home with you, they will know as soon as they are away from you. We do not know what home feels like; we only know what does not feel like home. The feeling of being at home is as instinctual, as ingrained into us as our craving for all things sweet and our inability to stop breathing voluntarily. Like how no one teaches us how to laugh, no one tells us what home feels like, only some places, some days, and some people feel like it, and we know.
Maybe, a good life is not built but found, only by leaving, over and over again, from all places, days and people. Perhaps, home is something we find on a walk to nowhere. It is only when we begin to walk away from it that we know we found it. If we are lucky, and if we have not wandered too far off, we can retrace our steps back. When we do, they call it homecoming.