Giving thanks for a place called "home"
For me, Thanksgiving, like most big holidays, is bittersweet as I get older. I'm single and I don't have any family nearby. Flying across the country has become very stressful during the winter holidays, so I now stay close to home. BFF is like family, but she is not into making a big deal about holidays, so if we do any celebrating together, it's usually very improvisational -- sort of like our approach to home remodeling.
Every year around Thanksgiving -- the official start of "The Holidays" -- I begin to feel a little left out of the hoopla, especially since I now work from home for myself, which means I am usually alone. So I like to take time to lift my spirits by remembering the things I have been grateful for throughout the year. It seems fitting to be especially thankful for my home, a sanctuary where I have the freedom to live, work, and express myself authentically. One of the major ways I have been able to do that is by creating a space that is functionally and aesthetically appropriate for my needs and style.
With the endless list of home improvements I'm always working on, you'd think there is hardly anything about my house that I like. But when I took this photo from my bedroom window October 21 after seeing the first real dusting of seasonal snow on the mountaintop, I began to reflect on all the things I love about this place and why I had to buy it three years ago.
Room with a view
My house hunting wish list four years ago included the following:
- A view -- because I moved here to be surrounded by mountains
- A two-story home -- so I could see the view
- A garage -- just because in all my adult life, I never owned a home with one
- No stairs from garage to living space -- no carrying groceries up a flight of stairs
- Open floor plan with a kitchen island -- because I wanted to finally have a place to entertain
- Two bedrooms -- preferably upstairs away from the entertaining
- Room for guests to stay overnight
- Two bathrooms -- one on the main level for guests
- Washer/dryer hookups in the house
- A front porch -- to sit out and watch the world go by
- A fenced backyard -- so I could have a patio for summer entertaining and room for a dog to play
- Central location -- so I could run my errands quickly
- Affordable monthly expenses
I got every item on my wish list and more -- the living room has a twenty-foot ceiling and features two clerestory windows on the second floor that fill the downstairs with light every morning. My BFF and I ended up living in adjoining homes. I bought at the bottom of the market, so mine was the lowest-priced, new-construction home in my neighborhood. Mortgages were still falling; my house payments are not astronomical. This was all much more than I could have ever expected for a single woman my age on a shoestring budget.
They say home is where the heart is, and in addition to my rescue dog, I've added three crazy kitties to my household this year to increase the love (and the housework, apparently). Along with the superficial changes I am making to my living space every few months, I look forward to good times when my home is filled with friends and loved ones from near and far enjoying each others companionship -- joyful celebrations and many happy occasions.
In the meantime, I am grateful for another year in my lovely little home with the view of the mountain.
Photo credit to Joan Fieldstone