28th August, 2022
We're coming to that time of year again, with all its nostalgia... Autumn. September promises a fresh start. Intentions and resolves can be refreshed and we all have that back-to-school feeling. Especially if we're behind on buying the children's uniforms.
I wanted to write just a little, this morning, about the feeling you get when you come back from holiday. Honestly, usually, I love coming home. Even though I'm hit by a thousand jobs... the milk bottles contained sour milk because I hadn't cancelled the delivery for the week, lots of clothes needed washing, weeds had grown around the front door again, the place looked like it could do with a hoover or two. And yet... it is... home. The things in it are those I've chosen. The fabrics feel right. The colours are varied and cheer me up. There's a cosiness about it. There are photos on the wall of the kids and our wedding and books that I love on the shelves. It's a great place to come back to.
I liked being away, in the end. I settled into being in a different place. I got used to not having any oven gloves in that kitchen and folding two tea-towels, very tightly, at the edges to take things out. More than one hot chip fell on the floor, I can tell you. I even got used to the knife not being very sharp and the chopping board being a bit flimsy (always go for wooden over plastic). But the one thing I never got used to was the colourless décor.
The table was that kind of mid-brown, nondescript wood. The sofas were the usual faux-leather, rather bachelor-pad looking creatures, neither inspiring joy nor oozing warmth. The kitchen cabinets were grey. The counters were grey. The window frames were brown. I mean, there was not a pop of colour anywhere. Nothing popped. The only art was a kind of generic modern hanging on the wall. I don't even know what you'd call it. I don't mean to be too disparaging. It was just generic, you know. Standard. It could've all come out of the same box. Maybe it did.
It probably did.
Whereas, a home... a home is where things get collected over time. You might remember who you were with when you bought it, or where you were. There might be colour clashes and things given to you from different parts of the world. There might be something you don't like but you like the person who gave it to you and, well, that makes all the difference. A home grows ergonomically... is that the word? Like a well-done puzzle, the pieces get put together over time, until it feels... complete. A moment of inspiration and you suddenly have one wall in the room matching or complementing a colour from the rug. A spontaneous purchase and you have a mirror that reflects a really nice view. You finally get the time to hang three pictures from that picture rail, like you've been meaning to for four years, because you saw it on Youtube - and they look pretty good. Even evenly-spaced.
The scuffs and buffs which annoyed me before I went on holiday don't feel so bad when I come home. I've had some time away, gained a little perspective. The Perfectionism that was starting to berate me, because I was in all the time and every bit of dirt screamed failure or 'depressing!' seems inconsequential now. I appreciate anew the way the kettle works, because it's my kettle and I chose it and it takes much less time than the one at the holiday place, anyway. Things seem more... in their place.
thinking inside the box.
Yep, the to-do list remains never-ending. Yes, it seems to multiply as the day goes on, following me like an annoying cat. But there's a bit of renewed energy and, somehow, anyway, it feels good to be busy and productive again. There's less resentment, less exhaustion. I had some space to breathe.
So yes, it's true. There really is no place like home.