Sunday, November 08, 2015

A House Is Not Necessarily A Home ...

I'm engaged in an ongoing project with someone I know. (As opposed to being engaged in an ongoing project with a stranger, which might be weird.) For the purposes of this post, it is relevant – at least to me – that that someone is male.

We've been convening here. The plan was to meet at his place, but to date, circumstances have aligned themselves such that it's made sense to meet here instead.

This past week, during a pause in the active participation of said project, the conversation wended its way around to his living space.

"My house has always just been a roof over my head," he said, and then he added, as he gestured to the space around him, "not a home."

For as long as I've known him – which is quite a long time – I've never thought of him as the kind of person who's mindful of his space. For as smart and thoughtful as I know him to be, environment never seemed high on his list of priorities. So long as his basic needs were met, he seemed OK with whatever presented itself.

And perhaps that was true in the past. But maybe years of living that way have taken a toll. In any case, he's no longer satisfied with shelter. Now he wants a home.

I've offered to help him on that front. For starters, we could change a lot in a weekend with a few cans of paint. We shall see what he wants to do.

But in the meantime, since the day of his "not a home" gesture and compliment, I've been even more mindful of my space. Like many, I suppose, I live with a mindset of what I'd like to do, improvements to be made, items to be purchased. (I could really up the cozy factor of this room with a full-size area rug. But choosing one opens a whole can of worms, as is often the case with a space.)

I'm more mindful, though, of how much I really do love my house, my home. It is welcoming and comforting. And, as the cold weather arrives, I am very grateful for its coziness.

As I sit here, typing, this is my view:

My view is actually wider – thanks, peripheral vision! – but that is what I face directly. Behold the evidence of my love for grey and brown. There are stories behind every item. Not every story is compelling, per se, but nothing in that image arrived in my life in a mindless, passive way. Everything was either given to me with lovely intent or chosen by me for a specific reason or, in the case of the pillow, made by me because I couldn't find just the right pre-fab thing.

Nothing was purchased passively. Nothing materialized simply because I felt the need to spend money, to buy something one day when I was out and about.

I'm not a fan of too many things, so the existence of six items on that small pie safe is actually quite a lot for me. But they've all found their ways there over time. They seem to enjoy each other's company.

And yes, I have a strand of Christmas lights on my lamp. Most of the strand is piled on the shade's spider. The rest hangs down because the outlet is near the floor.

I'm always sad when the holidays are over and I put my Christmas tree away. A few years ago, I decided to maintain a bit of the glow.

I'm never very far away from the thought that I surely do not need this much space, even though my home is humble by many measures.

But is a home indeed. And for that, I am very grateful.

I hope you have a home, too.


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