I think it is time to out myself…..I haven’t been writing for a multitude of reasons – work has picked up, my family has been crazy busy with sports events, social events, and professional commitments, and this time of year makes me want to spend every spare minute napping or reading by the fire.
To be perfectly honest though, there is a bigger reason and it is one I have been hesitant to talk about beyond my closest circle of friends. We have been contemplating a move.
Those who know me well know my shoe love is second only to my love of houses. I grew up a builder’s daughter, and the smell of sawdust still makes me swoon a little.
At 40, my husband and I are on our third house and contemplating a move to our fourth. There was our “starter home” – with it’s brown wood patterned carpet and green tinted awning. I cried the day we moved in, because it looked nothing like the “vision” I had in my head for what it could be, and I didn’t realize until that moment the work that was going to be involved in getting it there.
Five years later, we sold it before it was even listed to our realtor’s brother. It had fresh paint, new carpet, a freshly opened floor plan and a new kitchen and bath. It looked exactly like my vision, and nothing like what we had moved into.
That time I cried because we were leaving our first home, and because the next one needed just as much work. We made it just three years there, but added two babies in that timeframe. Another new kitchen, more paint and carpet, and lots of landscaping later we were on our way to our current home.
No tears this time – just awe. I will never forget walking into this house while it was still empty. The stone fireplace, the pristine carpet, the fact that it still smelled a little like new paint. It was a two-year-old blank slate, and I couldn’t wait to just move in without having to do a thing!
And here we are, eight years later this time, with multiple projects behind us and looking ahead for a new challenge. We have finished the lower level, added a dining room, two porches, and a laundry/mud room, replaced the white carpet with maple, installed quartz counters and a professional cook-top and range hood, built a shed, landscaped almost every square foot of our 1 acre lot, put in underground sprinklers, updated light fixtures, and painted every surface, some more than once.
We have lived here, loved here, dreamed here, struggled and grown here. Our friends are all shocked that we would consider leaving. “Your house is you!” ,they all exclaim. “You have done SO much work……”. And we have, which may be why it is time to move on.
One of my favorite children’s books is called “The Big Orange Splot”. In it, the main character is inspired by a large splot of paint that is dropped on the roof of his house by a passing bird. At first, his neighbors pressure him to remove it so they can all be the same again on their neat street. Instead, after thinking about it for many days, he decides to add to it instead. “My house is me, and I am it. My house is where I like to be. It looks like all my dreams.” He tells his neighbors this, and one by one, they all change their own houses to look like their dreams. Their neat street becomes a colorful collection of tropical plants, large ships, and castles.
I love this because it reminds me that our homes should look like our dreams. They are more than a wooden box to contain our stuff. On a basic level, our houses shelter our physical bodies and keep us safe. On a spiritual level, they hold our families together and nurture our most intimate moments.
We use our doors to filter outside influences, our kitchens feed us and our loved ones, our bathrooms cleanse and renew us, and our bedrooms hold us tight while we dream.
As our dreams change, so do the physical spaces that house them. Sometimes, our energy calls us to move on. The house needs fresh ideas, renewed energy, younger dreams. And somewhere, out there, another house is calling.
I truly don’t know where our journey is going to take us this time, as it always is when you open yourself up to the greater wisdom of the universe. We have found a house that we have fallen in love with, but like the beginnings of all relationships there is much to negotiate.
We will practice the dance with the new house to see if we are good partners, and we will try on saying good-bye to the faithful friend that has sheltered us. And we will wait with trust that it all will work out in the end.
UPDATE: Like all new relationships, the bright and shiny turned out to be not quite so bright and shiny after spending some time in deeper exploration. We have decided to stay put – for now – and are busy practicing the 3 Rs – Refinancing, Re-evaluating, and Remodeling!