Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A house is not a home

Four summers ago while S & I were vacationing in the mountains of North Carolina, we made a rather radical decision. Instead of waiting another 15 to 20 years to build our dream house (which we envisioned as a really nice cabin in the woods somewhere, preferably near or in mountains), to go ahead and live our dream now . . . in Indiana. OK, there aren't any mountains here, but there still are (believe it or not!) a few trees.

Predicting our lives over the next x number of years, we decided to build a house large enough to: 1) store all of our stuff under one roof (something that had never been done before!), and 2) accommodate parents or other family members who may need a temporary or permanent place to stay. Then, we set about finding our perfect location. We didn't want to be too far from downtown Indianapolis, but we wanted trees and a reasonable semblance of privacy. I wanted a basement (a necessity in my mind, living in Tornado Alley) and a brick wrap-around (I DETEST vinyl siding). S wanted a yard with a little bit of wildness in it, and a garage big enough to store and use cool tools. After what seemed like an exhaustive search, we finally found a place in Franklin Township, a brand new street in a new subdivision. The story of our house was chronicled in the original Gypsy Roots blog, which is still active if you want to take a look.

Just a few months after we moved, circumstances required S's Mom to move in with us. Over the next couple of years, life went on as normal. We continued working on the house in an effort to keep building on the dream, finishing part of the basement and adding a very nice deck in the back. We planted more trees, and hundreds of bulbs and flowers, and a vegetable garden. We put a lot of love into this place. We hosted a few parties, a couple of dinners, and a holiday party for the people who lived on our street. Those were good times, and although I'm experienced in life enough to know that nothing lasts forever, I really thought we'd be living at this address for a while.

Then a couple of things happened.

First of all, when I returned from Vienna in September 2008, ours was no longer the last house at the end of the street. I was quite shocked with the number of trees that had been cut down to make room for the new houses, and it began to hit me just how destructive new subdivisions are to the environment. I began to feel an awful guilt about being a part of it! Then, last November, S's Mom decided she wanted to take another stab at living independently, so she moved out. Suddenly, this awesome house was way too big for two people. That's when I knew for sure that our living here in this house was just temporary.

And - oh, yeah - the job thing.

A lot of people have asked me how I've been spending my time since I've become unemployed. Well, mostly, I've been trying to get the house ready for sale. Folks, this is a HUGE job! You never know how much crap you have until it's time to move! We even have boxes in the basement we never unpacked from three years ago! It's embarrassing to admit that someone who lives here is a pack rat! (I'm not naming names but I think her first name starts with M!)

Anyway, I know that some of my readers are also facing the possibility of unemployment, so I wanted to share with you how I'm "dealing with" this in case you also have to deal with this type of change. I still plan to live the dream. What I plan to do is, I'm going to dream a New dream. One that involves a smaller house, maybe even a condo or apartment. Living in a smaller home will reduce our environmental footprint. It will reduce our expenses. And we won't have to spend such a large percentage of our time cleaning, organizing, and maintaining! That's more free time for Us!

After all, a house is not a home. Home is where you hang your hat. Home is where the heart is. Home is where your loved ones are. Let's not get too confused about the things that really matter. Or as one of my Indiana University professors used to say: We've gotta keep the main thing the main thing. That, folks, is what it's all about.