Years ago I purchased my home as an investment. The plan was to rent out the main home and the carriage house for additional income to invest in my flip projects. One bad tenant, busted pipes, the real estate crash and a broken marriage later I found myself living in a home that I had no intention of ever occupying, and that needed enormous amounts of work for which I had neither the time nor the finances. Long story short I was between a rock and an avalanche.
You might wonder why I share all of this with you. I do because I want you to understand my mindset at the beginning of this journey. For years I had this defeatist attitude, like I couldn’t do anything to improve my situation, when the truth is I WOULDN’T. Now don’t get me wrong I made my home presentable enough that it wasn’t the total embarrassment that it had been in the beginning, but that was about it. Every moment of energy I put into making my home better for me and my girls was a reminder of how much I had failed. It became a penance and I dreaded facing it.
It changed for me when during a conversation with my mom I talked about my home like one would discuss an abusive relationship. I realized that these walls held reminders of hardship, disappointment and loss that I hadn’t let go. I had moved on, my life had changed and I sincerely loved myself and the world I had built around me, but I’d somehow not managed to extend that forgiveness and love to my home.
On one level I wanted a complete purge. In my head I felt it wouldn’t be better unless I gutted it and started over – like I have the funds for that. I also thought about just leaving it all behind, but no one was going to buy the home at the amount I needed with the level of work that still had to be done. So then I thought well one room at time. I’ll save up and just hire someone when I can, but then I lost my job (no, this is not a sob story I promise). All of this brought me to a firm conclusion… nothing I do will be worse than it already is.
Sounds simple I know, but it is true! I found myself with the time and I have the skill. It started simply enough with the stairs (full process shared here). I had climbed them for 2000+ days and been disgusted with them every single time. Why? Because I was too wrapped up in my self pity to do something about it. Also, because I wanted perfection when all I really needed was better.
My point? Don’t hold yourself back from serving yourself while giving your all to others. Home is our sanctuary and if yours doesn’t feel like one there is always a way to make it better.