Though I really love traveling, it feels delicious to get back into the routines of home and to sleep in my own cozy bed again. :)
I had a lot of time to think this past week while I was out of town, and as my mind turned to thoughts of home I started making some mental lists about my goals, values and priorities. So much of our home life reflects the intentional choices of our family.
For example, we embrace small footprint living, the effect of which is that we currently live in a small on-campus home rather than in a suburban tract. We spend our discretionary funds on travel rather than on late-model cars. Our clothes are functional but not fancy. We tend to eat fresh & local gourmet-style foods, and our kids can tell the difference between an artisan cheese and a supermarket imitation. We recycle and compost and grow our own. If you drop by, you will be offered a chair and a cup of tea or a glass of wine, as well as an earful of conversation.
While on the road I thumbed through some “home” magazines, admiring the beauty of the decor and comparing them to my own nothing-like-a-magazine-layout home. It made me feel sort of inadequate and empty. Wondering where I’d gone wrong because of my own lack of artfulness and taste. This thought came rather specifically as I thumbed through a “Coastal Living” magazine and fantasized a bit about having a beach cottage with pale blue walls and white linens (sigh). But…can you even imagine the nightmare of cat hair that would collect on a white couch?
I am just not a fancy living room person, nor would such decor mesh with my chosen lifestyle. I think I will forever be the kind of person who will have to scooch over a pile of books or a sleeping kitty to make space for you to sit down when you drop by. I might even have to wash a mug or two for that tea that we’ll share. And you might find me wearing my gardening jeans with their holes and mud-dirty hems, rather than anything fashionable.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m “doing it wrong,” and perhaps I should be setting my sights a bit higher, or working harder to have nicer “things” and be a better hostess. But I think I’m really more in the stage of life where I’ve realized that I just don’t find joy in those pursuits. I’d far rather have a lazy conversation with a friend, spend the afternoon puttering in my garden, take the kids to a new bookshop, go for a swim, read a novel, bake some muffins, paddle a canoe, or take pictures of the sunset.
I know my life is unusual, even strange, to many people who have made other types of lifestyle choices. And there are days that I wonder if maybe I should work harder to conform to society’s expectations or aspirations. But then I walk in that front door and melt into my favorite chair with a kitty at my side. I look out over the broad green field that we share with our adjacent neighbors and I see our garden off in the distance. I hear the kiddos chattering away in their room as they make their summer dream lists. I sip on a latte from a favorite flowery mug, my drink made by John after waking together this morning. And I am satisfied. To know that I am truly home.
Picture: a bunch of climbing roses cut from my garden in a vase placed on my back porch table that’s covered with a favorite vintage cloth that I found at a thrift shop many years ago. How’s that for picture-perfect? :)