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NOTE: This post went in an entirely different direction that I intended. I intended to write a very simple post with helpful suggestions. Well, it tuned into more of a heartfelt baring of my soul. I hope that you find it touching and not preachy, because that is in no way my intent.
I know I keep mentioning that we recently sold our house and moved into a rental, but I just have so many things to talk about as a result of this big life change! It’s actually been 4 months since we downsized from 2200 sq ft to about 1400 sq ft, and it has taught me a LOT about what I need vs. what I want.
And to seriously rethink what it is that I DO want. You see, writing this blog gave me a lot of inspiration to DIY our house but it also put a ton of pressure on me to do really upscale and fancy things. Granted we didn’t do any major renovation because it was a new build, but I didn’t get to pick anything out and I was continually frustrated by the beautiful finishes I was seeing on Pinterest like white marble countertops and beautiful marble backsplashes and gorgeous white kitchens with sleek gold pulls.
Oh the FOMO.
So I did what I could with what I had. I worked on trim and intricate feature walls and used some modern wallpaper designs and wallpapered the stair risers and gold sharpies to create fun patterns and stencils to create a dramatic master bedroom. And spent hours creating one-of-a-kind DIY wall art to liven up the blank spaces.
I painted and painted and painted until I got burned out and felt like I would be fine if I never had to paint another wall again, except I had to to stage the house. UUG.
Now that we live in an apartment, it’s caused a rethink of pretty much everything in my life. We sold our home purely for financial reasons because we spent years struggling to live within our means and we were sick of it! We wanted to be debt free again, and let me tell you it was worth it all.
My stress level has gone down dramatically which is why I’ve been able to get back to this blog. I was so overwhelmed, that the very thing that was earning me extra money had become a total burden. I think because when it took off I was so excited and after about 9 months of seeing HUGEMO pageviews, pinterest up and changed their algorithm and it was a horror show watching my pageviews take a steep nosedive. I totally felt deflated and it really messed with my head.
All the joy I found in blogging disappeared, and I lost my way.
So when the pageviews went down, the income tanked and we were in a big, ginormous mess because we were using my income to support our lives instead saving it.
Now the tables have turned. Now I’m free from the burden of having to write and am free to do this again out of passion and joy. It’s a great feeling!
But how does that lead to why you should rethink using expensive finishes in your home?
Well, sometimes good is good enough.
I know the saying that “Good is the enemy of great” and all that. But I think when we stress ourselves out with having a picture perfect house, a picture perfect family, and a picture perfect life…
Our lives end up being anything but perfect.
All the striving and stressing takes up so much mental energy that we are unable to enjoy and appreciate what we have.
The other night, when I was dealing with my recurrent insomnia, I had this epiphany. I was thinking about our former home and how we had wood floors and granite counters and 9ft ceilings and tile floors, and how I was constantly frustrated because I, from day 1, hated the granite we had. How the tile drove me nuts because they didn’t offset it or put it in diagonally to create a more interesting aesthetic. How we didn’t have an open floor plan and I felt isolated in the kitchen when I cooked. How we didn’t have an island and thus no real social gathering space (so I thought) for our family and friends. How the table never fit right on the side porch and how there was no transom window in the downstairs bathroom.
All the while, my children were growing up and leaving the nest.
So back to my epiphany. This thought rang loudly and clearly through my head:
Relationships are the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life.
Yeah. I know that. Why do you think I’ve stayed at home to raise my kids, I told myself.
But hearing that so loudly in my head, reaffirmed our decision to downsize and get our financial house back in order.
So right now we live in a beautiful apartment with:
- Laminate countertops
- Vinyl plank flooring in the main area
- Vinyl sheet flooring in the bathrooms
- Tiny bathrooms
- No garage
- 2 flights of stairs to walk up
- Half the cabinet space in the kitchen
And I’m happier than I’ve been in ten years. I have more peace than I’ve had in ten years. I have more mental energy to devote to my family than I’ve had in ten years.
I’m available. I’m happy. I’m getting my mojo back. I’m feeling more creative. I’m, dare I say, content?
What you put in your new build or look for in the next house you buy will never make you truly happy. It will never give you solid and trusting relationships.
Those new tile floors may drive you nuts trying to keep them clean. Or you may love cleaning the grout, because tile!
That beautiful Carera Marble countertop might get wine stains on it and drive you batty. Or you may not care and enjoy them immensely.
But they will never alone make you feel whole.
Besides, laminate countertops and vinyl flooring can be replaced at any time when the time is right. So exceeding your budget because you want that Pinterest worthy house is NOT worth it. I swear. Getting swept up in the emotional ferver of perfectionism can lead to some really bad decisions.
There is nothing inately wrong with wanting or having nice, high dollar fixtures in your home. Creativity and self-expression are an invaluable part of the human existence!
If there ever comes a day when we are financially able to do whatever want with peace of mind, then watch out. I’ll be having the time of my life. Because design is in my blood. And, in the meantime, I’ll still write about the things I love and the incredible options that life has to offer. I’m just trying to remember that all flesh is grass.
And sometimes, good is good enough. Having financial peace is SO much better than appearances or status.
When we put up our house for sale, I remember driving through our lovely neighborhood, with its beautiful sidewalks and street lamps and thinking of myself:
Vanity. Vanity. All is vanity.
I am not the car that I drive (though I do love my heated seats!)
And I am not the house that I live in.
I am the love of my husbands life and the mother to my two sons. I am daughter and sister and friend. And everything else is dust in the wind.
So if you are building a new house, or buying a new home, watch out for that feeling in your chest of emotional attachment as you choose and as you search and as you make decisions, and remember that you are looking for a safe and warm place that you can make into a home.
Where you will build what does last… LOVE.
Because as cliche as it sounds, home is where the heart is.