I bought my house two years ago today. I remember the morning of the closing – it was a cool rainy Tuesday. I signed papers at 10am and then headed up the road to my new home – a 1902 farmhouse perched on a little hill, facing the river valley below. When I drove down the sloping driveway and saw the house sitting empty, like it was just waiting for me and my kids, I started to cry. Pure tears of joy. I don’t do that very often. Even now it makes me teary eyed. That summer was a blissful euphoria of moving, hanging photos, exploring the overgrown gardens and making plans for chickens, painting walls, planning future family gatherings. I. Was. So. Happy.
As with all new things, the shine wears away over time. A year later I remember sitting frustrated on the porch, surveying the still overgrown yard, the long, cooked driveway that needed paving, the horrible wallpaper in the living room, the still-empty chicken coop used only for storing garbage cans and returnable’s. All my expendable income (which wasn’t much to start with) was going to oil, and wood, and repairs. Winter proved to be a lot of work, keeping the driveway plowed and roof raked. The list went on and on and on….had I fallen out of love with my little farmhouse?
“You won’t have to travel to the other side if you just grow grass right. I think we all forget that the seeds are I our hands.” – Rachel Wolchin
The house on Boxshop was more than house. It represented my independence, my hard work, my success over divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure that haunted me for years. The house was a goal I had set for myself and achieved. And being a true American, once the goal was achieved and I got what I wanted, I wanted something else; something shinier and new. I had bigger goals – a camp on a lake, a new SUV, vacations in Europe, a better job, etc… Why couldn’t I just BE HAPPY where I was? Why does that feel like settling? I think back to the 2010-2011 version of myself. If I had known then that I would have my own home again – a white farmhouse with a wrap-around porch and flower gardens – literally my DREAM home – I would have been ecstatic. But what do I do when I finally achieve said dream home? Sit around, bitching about it, of course.
“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” ― Marjorie Pay Hinckley
I am very good at analyzing other people’s behaviors and I find myself thinking that “He/she doesn’t see the forest through the trees.” Meaning, they miss the big picture of life because they are focusing on tiny problems. So many people I know are unhappy on some level about something. Often times I think “I wish that were my worst problem,” never realizing that there are probably plenty of people who would like my worst problem (currently how to repair a fiberboard wall in the living room remodel – oh woe unto me! ).
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
As with many relationships my love for my farmhouse waxes and wanes. There are still periods of unadulterated happiness – but I have to set myself up for them. I have to focus on what I truly love about my home and remember why I bought it in the first place. I have to remember how far I have come. And I have to stop comparing what I have and who I am to other people. Taking stock of the good stuff in life is sometimes the perfect remedy for a bad day or a bad week. For me the good stuff is my family eating a potluck dinner on the porch or debating with my kids about which color to paint the living room walls. It is sitting in the morning with my cup of tea, watching the fog roll through the river valley or taking inventory of the hundreds of flowers that are in bloom. The good stuff is everywhere, if you know where to look.
What’s your good stuff?