Sunday, April 24, 2011
My Life As A House
The evidence is well-documented, both anecdotally and scientifically. People are most comfortable in, well, their comfort zone - even if their comfort zone is flawed. I’ve seen it in the weight-loss community where it takes folks a while to adjust to the new body and all the comes with it. Some people do adjust to the new lifestyle, while for others, the new body brings with it too many other issues and soon they return to their former size.
The same phenomenon occurs in abusive relationships - people stay because even if it is painful, it is known, while the unknown is even more frightening. Simplified, yes, but the fear of the new and different can be powerful.
The draw of the familiar is powerful and for me, the familiar is “we are not supposed to have nice things”. I’d changed that around a bit, to make it a bit more palatable for me to something like “I am not materialistic”. Things and possessions aren’t important. I’d already been through something similar with MalibuKen. I’d driven my trusty truck for nearly twenty years and while I was very grateful for the opportunity to do so, I wasn’t particularly proud of the truck. And I did love Mitzi, my $1,700 commuter vehicle, but she certainly wasn’t the stuff that dreams were made of, but she was such a step up for me that I adored her. And the truth is, if it had been left up to me, I would have never picked MalibuKen for myself. I would have chosen a lesser model. And I am proud of MalibuKen, but I think the real sign of growth in me is that I am considering trading cars sometimes within the next year or so, to find something that fits in the actual garage. Rather than just “making do”. That, for me, is personal growth. I do not have to make do. I’ve had a lifetime of “making do”.
And so it goes with the house. I’ve never lived in a place I was proud of. I’ve been grateful, but I’ve never been proud. I was always taught, always taught, that “pride comes before the fall”. I can see now that this “teaching” was a way of making the old living conditions seem almost, well, virtuous. And while I’ve successfully eschewed the cluttering/shopping/hoarding legacy, what was ingrained was the “I guess we can never have nice things”. So buying this “nice” house is a real step outside my comfort zone.
I’m not buying a fixer-upper. I’m buying a house that is beautiful, as it is. I’m not doing anything to “earn” this house. I’m not restoring or saving it or getting some fabulous bargain. Pebbles calls it charming and modest. I call it solid and confident.
This is not a house of chaos. This is a house where care is shown and practiced, and yes, perhaps a little pride. This might be the house where my maybe-future grandchildrens’ memories are made. This house is how “normal” people live. People have commented that I don’t seem particularly excited about this new place and the truth is, I’m still adjusting to the thought of it. I had a hard time picturing myself living in something so wonderful. It’s like that post weight-loss sensation of not recognizing yourself in a picture or in a mirror or your reflection in a store window as you walk down the street. It takes a while to recognized this new, inner core that is now being shown to the world.
This is my new house and I am proud of it.