I’ve been thinking about this on and off for the past while–especially in light of all the work I’ve been doing on my house this summer. In a way, I think houses are like relationships. At least, the one house I’ve owned so far has been that way for me. You start off pretty infatuated with the house (hopefully). The first impression is darling, you love this detail and that oddity–love at first sight. And for the first bit, everything is hunky dory. You’re caught up in the swell of emotion and the bliss of having gotten this thing you really wanted.
Then, it happens.
You notice something’s wrong with your house. There’s a squeak in the floor over there. The doors aren’t quite straight. What happened to the trim over there? The flooring in the kitchen is scratched. The carpet has seen better days. It goes on and on. This slew of little details that you didn’t notice when you first looked at the house–all of them start piling up at an alarming rate. At first it’s daunting, but you steel yourself and determine to work through these momentary bumps in your relationship. You can replace the carpet, or repaint, or redo the trim. The flooring isn’t really that bad. You can live with it.
But despite your best efforts and intentions, you start noticing things. Ads in the newspaper. For Sale signs as you’re driving down the street. And you start thinking maybe all this effort isn’t worth it. After all, wouldn’t it be easier just to go get a new house?
The thing is, I don’t think it would be. Take DKC and I, for example. The kind of house we really love and are drawn to is an old house. One with character. Old houses all have flaws. They demand upkeep. It’s a fact. And no matter how alluring any house in question might be at first blush, once you get to know that house well, you’re going to start finding problems. Sure, they may be different problems than the ones you’ve been dealing with, but they’ll start to bug you just as much if you let them.
I think the trick is to not let them. Acknowledge the flaws, accept them, and move on. Live with them. Fix them over time–but do your best to keep in mind the details about your house that drew you to it in the first place. I really like my house, despite all the bellyaching I do about it. Yes, it has its flaws, but overall, I think it’s great. Better yet, it keeps improving the more work I put into it, which is probably why I’m motivated to keep working on it.
Again, just like relationships.