Creating a home can take many shapes, and surely, the idea of “home” shifts as one moves through life and time. Real homes may be rented, shared, owned and sold. Real budgets will shrink and grow, shrink and grow. Real life will present different rewards and new challenges. Along the way, what makes us happy – what brings us “bliss” – will change too. The important thing is to make the best of what you have, when you have it — to make a place of refuge within your real home no matter where you are in time.
When you are young, first home love is exhausting, like a new baby. Long weekends of DIY, long lines at Home Depot, long drives to IKEA, and of course, long wish lists of what you hope to do or add to your home when your budget grows. The reward is that home is what you want it to be. It can be clean; it can be modern or hold priceless antiques; it can be yours.
Sharing a Space
Perhaps you throw a partner into the mix, and things get a little complicated. I remember the first fight with mine. We had a typical small, suburban apartment in the DC area that I had made as lovely as I could on our fresh-out-of-college budget. And then, one day, he disrupted my lovely tablescape of living, breathing, houseplants with a huge, ugly, black hole of a stereo speaker. (This was back in the day – when apparently, any speaker worth having was BIG!) I vaguely recall some “discussion” about the speakers having to be at certain angles around the TV and this end table being the only space, and oh yeah – the house plants were NOT suppose to sit on the speaker OR be placed in front of them, because of vibrations, sound waves, etc, etc. Back then, I thought this was a problem.
Kids in the House!
Then, many years later, we had kids. I learned what true chaos looked like. I learned to live with a lot of things that were not pretty and that were not mine. And, I learned a new definition of making a home and defining bliss. One that constantly evolves as the kids grow. And I try. I try to balance beauty and budget with four personalities, four styles, four people’s possessions, and four people’s definition of what is enough, what is clean, what is pretty, what is too much, and ultimately, what is home.
The Home of the Future
What is next? For me, I anticipate that one day I will blink and have teenagers coming and going on their own accord. A woman-child and a man-child who will be occupying adult-sized space. I’m sure our house will feel small when that happens. And then, later it will grow quiet, and I will have to reinvent my definition of bliss. Always, it will be home. And the challenge is to make that what you want it be, no matter what stage or formula your life takes.