My boy and I are house hunting. It is super exciting. I have never bought a house before (ummm, and even now, it will technically be ‘his’, cos I’m going to spend all my money on croissants and sangria and plane tickets – oh my!). But, bless him, he is making it all about ‘us’ and it is Super Exciting, with capital letters.
The entire process has got me thinking about my ideal space – those features that I’ve always had in my head, yet perhaps never articulated to myself (“oh yeah – high ceilings make me feel good, lots of natural light makes me feel good, feeling connected to the outdoors makes me feel goooood.”)
And man, have I found it funny noticing how my boy and I converse about these matters. Keep in mind that he has actual skills, he Knows Stuff about houses. Whereas me… Well, I know what I like, and I’ve watched a heap of Grand Designs episodes and I’ve flicked through a few Living magazines = Totally qualified to have an opinion (ha!). But have no actual knowledge or language base in which to converse.
[Sidebar - actually, that's not entirely true. I've managed to pick up a few really esoteric house-building things from watching so much Grand Designs. Unfortunately, as the show is filmed in the UK, all my knowledge is correspondingly very tea-and-scones-British, and not at all suitable for the Queensland context...
Me: Can we get a house with cedar cladding? I like cedar cladding. Or what about an oak-frame house? Or re-claimed Bath sandstone? And what about thatching? I love Tudor thatching, especially with Kent-sourced eco-reeds. Let's find a house with that!]
Moving on! When we walk out of a house inspection, he is able to converse in intelligent, relevant building-speak: “I liked the open floor plan, but the timber architraves were very dated and the kitchen was a total flat-pack nightmare.”
And I am all: “I liked the feeeeeel of the house. Like, it felt like the trees outside the house were part of the inside living space. And I can imagine fairy-lights in that big tree out the back. And the sunlight through the windows made it feel nice and vibey and retreaty.”
Ha! Poor boy.
But the other thing about buying a house is that you have to start thinking about things that had previously seemed waaay down the track. Basically, the big one, being kids. What if we have kids? Are we having kids? How many rooms do we need for said hypothetical children? Do we need to consider if we are near any schools, and does it matter if they are private or state schools? Do we need to think about how busy the road is, cos little Jack and Rosie sure as hell aren’t going to be kicking a ball on a front lawn like this with busy cars screeching past! Aaaggghhh.
Basically, perhaps naively, I have been struck in my sternum by how much buying a house is NOT about buying a house. It is about choosing a future. About actively creating a future. About merging your thoughts and dreams and desires with your Significant Other’s (if that’s how you roll). And trying to make sense of the whole thing without getting monumentally overwhelmed.
Of course, the flipside to that is that it is not forever. It can be forever, but it doesn’t have to be. I am reminded of the luminous Sarah Wilson’s recent discussion on decision making: if you make a decision that isn’t right, you just choose again.
So me and my boy are still toying with Airlie Beach versus Mackay versus the Sunny Coast versus Brisvegas. And we are tossing up between a renovator and a serious renovator and a holy-goodness-tear-it-down-already renovator. And I am tossing up between thatching and gargoyles and turrets. (Darn Brits!)
But if you are tossing up between two decisions, it probably means that both choices have their merits and could be made to work (let’s face it, if one of the decisions was clearly a bad choice, you would have already crossed it out). The tossing up indicates goodness. And then the actual act of choosing – the act of deciding – renders your decision the Right One. Because you chose it. Because something in you at that point in time, with the information and tools you had at your disposal, was drawn towards that option. And if, with the brilliant-if-painful twenty-twenty vision of hindsight, it turns out that you picked the lesser investment or whatever… Well, I am one of those annoying people who thinks that everything happens for a reason. You may have missed out on the investment, but maybe you picked up a valuable skill or lesson or perspective along the way that the Universe knew you needed…
And I am comforted in the knowledge that as massive as decisions can be, we can always choose again. That piece of knowledge right there brings spaciousness back and helps dispel my stress. It makes it exciting, as it should be. And yes, maybe ‘choosing again’ involves a bit of extra time and effort and maybe even spending (or losing) some money. But if the decision is important enough to you, then those things pale in comparison.
So, whether it is high heels or high schools or high-set houses, make a choice. And if it’s not right, you choose again. It is as simple and as complex as that.