This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

House and Home

I love houses. I love looking at houses. I love decorating houses. I love seeing other people’s houses and learning how they decorate, how they live. I identify myself with my house. I can clearly see when I am organized and when my life is in chaos just by looking at the condition of my house. Ten years ago my husband, Steve, and I moved into a newly built house in Cincinnati, Ohio. This house was my dream home: flooded with natural light and vaulted ceilings, I loved everything about that house. I enjoyed driving up to my house and just seeing the way it sat on its lot, placed “just so” at the curve of the cul-de-sac. When I lived in Cincinnati I was in the best shape of my life. I adhered to a strict vegan diet, exercised daily AND ENJOYED IT, dressed in adorable little sporty outfits, and had tons of energy. When Steve was laid off in Cincinnati and we had to move to Toledo I really mourned the loss of that house far more than I mourned moving away from my friends and my neighborhood. The house we bought in Toledo had a very similar floor plan, but lacked the high ceilings and natural light. It felt dark, heavy, and depressed. I gained weight, had a major surgery, ate…whatever…didn’t replace the sporty cute outfits of which I gained to much weight to fit into with anything resembling sporty or cute. I stopped highlighting my hair and wearing makeup. Essentially I was dark, heavy, and depressed. I found solace in my house. I painted every room in that house and especially the dark, shabby wood trim that surrounded every window, wall, and door. Steve and I took off the heavy, dated window treatments and opted for light, airy curtains hung just below the ceiling. We removed bulkheads and raised ceilings. As the house began to lighten up, so did I. I found myself interested in working out again. I began to wear makeup again and get my hair highlighted. I began buying new clothes that weren’t baggy and shapeless. As each room lightened my spirit lightened and I felt energetic, enthusiastic, optimistic and alive. By the time we moved from that Toledo house last month to the home we’re renting in Massachusetts, I loved that Toledo house just as much as I loved the house in Cincinnati.

Now I’m on a break from houses. Living in a rental, I feel displaced, uncertain, a little lost. I frequently wander through the rooms of this house re-decorating them in my mind and imagining how I could lighten, brighten, modernize, and energize this home. I know it won’t happen, this isn’t my house to change, but just thinking about what I would do if I could helps to connect me to myself. I am excited to buy a house next year, I have even picked out several homes here that I hope will go on the market when I’m ready to buy, but more than physically owning a home, I’m excited to get back to the things I love: sanding, priming, painting, tearing down wallpaper, tearing out, fixing up, and, eventually, moving on.

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