I have a friend. A lovely friend. She and her husband just bought their first house (they had previously owned a condo. Now they have grass), into which they moved in October of last year. They had, as we all do (I think) things that they wanted to change in this house. New paint, new counter tops, new fixtures…you get the idea. They are currently in the middle of some of these projects and waiting for professionals to attend their home so that they may start other projects.
I was replying to an email she had sent when I realized that I am in a static state in my own domestic life. I have been living in this house for more than five years now and I have barely hung art on the walls. Five. Years.
I want to paint rooms. I want to change (ALL OF THE) light fixtures (because the existing ones are gold. It’s awful). I want to finish the unfinished half of the ground floor. I want to have a master bedroom that I’m excited to spend time in, not something that looks like a collect-all for junk. I want a new sundeck. I want a new sundeck door (French, rather than sliding glass). I want three fences, with which I may enclose my yard. I want my terraced garden, in the backyard, to be fixed because it was haphazardly and improperly constructed in the first place, is heaving badly and looks terrible.
I want to have the motivation to really, actually care about my house.
But I don’t. I think I’m starting to understand why, though. Beyond my current depressed state (which is getting pretty bad again), I believe one of my biggest problems with my relationship with this house is that it’s always seemed temporary. We didn’t buy this as a “forever home.” It has always been a five-to-ten year home, because our End Game has always been a bit of property.
Now, because of that relationship and all of the projects that sound great in my head, but never make it into existence, I resent my home. Couple with that some of the reasons for my depression (which is not clinical, or chemical, but situational in nature) and I sometimes hate my home.
…I sometimes hate my home.
It feels transitional.
On the other hand, I’ve also always moved. Until I moved here, I hadn’t lived in a city for more than nine years, which means I haven’t lived in a house for more than nine years. While I have lived in this city for going on fifteen now, I had lived in two dorm rooms, and two apartment buildings before this house came into my life. I suppose everything feels transitional to me.
I think, sometimes, that I’m afraid to set roots. I’m afraid to and I don’t want to. I like to move, I like to discover new things, and some days I feel really itchy to pack up my whole life and move it to another city/province/country. But I also like to run away. When things get difficult, I run away. (It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’m starting to understand.)
I think I need to start employing another of Nicole’s tips (on creating an anchor habit): get rid of four things a day. Clutter has become the bane of my existence. I hate it and I feel overwhelmed by it. Maybe if I start to throw things into piles (or garbage bags or “To Donate” bins) every day, and then actually take those piles to the dump, recycling depot, or a donation location, I will feel motivated to finally move into the house I’ve owned for five years. Maybe by taking baby steps, I will start to take ownership of my life and stop feeling overwhelmed by The Big Project(s). Because Nicole’s right (she often is. I’ve said it on Twitter a few times to a few people: subscribe to her email/blog. It’s useful and fun):
But, look, change doesn’t have to be huge in order to be hugely impactful. If you’re sitting there waiting until you have “enough time” or the “right circumstances” to make a big change, you’re making it too hard on yourself. Who says big changes are the only way? Who says it has to be all or nothing?
Maybe it’s time to couple small organizational tasks with “13-Minute Work Blocks” (WRITING) and make use of the time I really, actually have in a day. Maybe this is a really good excuse to take a trip to Canadian Tire to buy some (MOAR) totes with which I may organize my life. And then, maybe (just maybe) there will be a day when I am not swimming in clutter and I can see my carpet just enough to rip it up. Or a new sundeck door doesn’t seem so daunting and scary.
Maybe it’s time to start accepting my life and using it as a great, solid foundation to start building more onto it.