Does the House you live in Define who you are?
Does the house that you live in define who you are?
I have been puzzling over this the last few days as we prepare to move house again….. just to fill you in on a few details: when we moved back to Ireland in 2017 we moved into my parents gate lodge, which was fantastic. It was so great to have a home that felt like home as soon as we landed. My parents greeted us with banners and balloons - after 25 years abroad I was finally returning back home. The children started in a nearby school and life began as new. My husband and I sourced jobs, we found our way around the local supermarkets and connected with new friends.
But something was terribly wrong. It turned out that the school was not working for our kids on many different levels. The change was massive from the school they had been in in Antigua and they struggled to find their place in this new environment.
I found a new school - but it was a hour’s drive away and I overcame some major personal hurdles to make the move. I looked at a few houses that were in our budget to rent, but didn’t find any of them suitable. But then the time pressure was on so I had to “just take anything”, as my husband told me from abroad. So I did - a tiny, fully furnished terraced house with a very dirty oven and mould climbing out of the washing machine. The best things about it were the village that it is in and that it is warm.
I wondered if this is how Ireland would be for us - and thought (for a few milliseconds) about moving abroad again.
But my heart is strong on this - we are going to make life work here. All the reasons that we moved here for are valid, in my heart and in my head.
I have found a new house to rent, unfurnished with a garden. But before signing the lease I doubt myself: does the house that I live in really define who I am? When I invite people over, are they not there to see me instead of my house? Do I really need to undergo the financial and physical and emotional headache of moving house again? Who am I trying to please - other people … or myself?
Your home is your castle, right? It is the place that you work on for your life, to make a beautiful life for your family. It is your sacred space, your little island in a crazy, busy world. It is where you can put your stamp on your little space on this planet and say “this is who I am”. You have to own it - if it is not yours, your energy is not in it. I don’t even mean that you have to own it physically, more metaphorically, however transiently.
I came back to Ireland with a big dream of owning our own home. I had visions of raspberry canes and planting bulbs, of building a tree house and getting bunk beds for the kids or painting and decorating. Not one to be put down to easily by the fact that the mortgage is harder to procure than we had imagined - the children and I have started a vision board with ideals for the home of our collective dreams.
Meanwhile, the home of our dreams is available for rent …. sea view, weeping willow tree and all! I almost have to pinch myself with the knowledge that dreams do come true.
And you know what? I discovered that the house you live in does NOT define who you are - not even a little bit ….. EXCEPT if it is one of your core personal values. Everyone has different values, even my husband and I who share the same home, have different values. It turns out, that I associate my home with my family as the most important thing to me - so for me, my home means a great deal. In a way, it does define who I am. Not to other people, but to myself. In that little value bubble, the home that I want, that will define me, will be quirky, cosy, petite and filled with light and a warm welcome. Do I have high expectations, what do you think? Does your home reflect your personality?