For me owning a home is like being in a relationship. There are ups and downs, good times and bad. There are things you learn in time that were not apparent during the courtship phase, and there is a bond that develops when you fully commit to being there.
This is where I am currently in my relationship with my home. In terms of looks and style, it is not perfect, and does not fit my dream of what my home should be like. It is not the equivalent of Cary Grant or even Hugh Grant, if I could envision them as houses, but is perhaps more like a young Richard Dreyfus or Dustin Hoffman. The home is small and cozy, but filled with a radiance and warmth. It is comfortable and solid, not too fancy for everyday use.
I am coming to accept these traits, the strengths and the limitations, and to let go of the longing for something that is unattainable or would require a sacrifice of the intangibles that have made living where I do such a treat. Those intangibles include the true darkness that pervades the night sky, not needing to shroud my windows at night, being able to sleep with open windows and hear the sounds of nature-- spring peepers are happily singing every night this time of year, watching dear graze in the fields around the house, watching hawks soar above the tree line, watching vultures fly in overlapping circles, seeing the sun rise and set from inside the house.
If we were to move back into town, all these things would be lost, and I know we would miss them greatly. That old house I wrote about recently is like a world unto itself, as my husband said when we were touring it. It feels like stepping back in time to be wrapped in its sheltering embrace, but I am not one who lives my entire life within the confines of my house, and that embrace would become smothering in time. I need quiet and darkness at night. I need sunlight and air and space. I need to work in the dirt and to connect with the natural world. I need a house that nurtures this connection and feels a part of nature, not separate from it.
The limitations of this house, as one who has now lived there almost a year, are mostly related to its size and lack of storage space. We have amended the problems that existed with the plumbing and electrical systems. The space issues are things we can work around with a little bit of creativity and finesse. A small space can also be a blessing in that it forces mindfulness about what is brought into the house, it forces one to be tidy because little messes make the whole place look unclean, it is quick to clean, cheaper to maintain.
So, I have decided to stay where I am, to focus my energies on making my current house dreamy, instead of pursuing my dream house. I guess I am fully committing to my house and no longer shopping around for something better. I feel lucky to have a home that is safe and comfortable and feel silly for entertaining those voices of discontent that tell me it's not good enough. I am choosing to ignore them and to focus on the strengths of this home that surrounds and protects me. She may not be perfect, but the reality is that she suits me quite well.
How would you describe your relationship with your house?
Until next time...