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Coming of Age (or The Perfect Home – Part 2)

The Perfect Home doesn’t exist. Well, at least for
now. The good news is that there is The Home That is Perfect Enough.

I know, it
may be a bit disappointing or may feel like I’m giving up, but to me it also means
that I’m growing up (a little). Part of this coming-of-age-process involves accepting that any one poor piece of
property cannot possibly give me everything I want from a home – and I want a
lot! People who know me well – I won’t name names – were laughing out loud
after reading in last week’s post that “I am probably less flexible and more
demanding than the average home-seeker” (what’s wrong with having high
standards?) Well, the new, more mature me has decided that, as long as I am true
to my principles about what is non-negotiable – the no-compromise
areas being, in my case, that the new place should provide a minimum comfortable living space for
my family and that I can imagine us feeling at home there – I should go for the
one place that checks off most criteria on my list.
One of the houses we saw last week fits the bill. It is not huge, but comfortable enough that we won’t feel cramped. It
has a garden; not a big one, but the kids will be happy. It is
tasteful, both in the interior and the exterior, and not oppressive. It has
a lot of windows to let the light in, which is a big deal for me. There
is even a cute little office for me to write. The neighbourhood is nice, residential and close enough to the kids’ school, although – and here is my compromise – not within walking distance of the city
centre! There is a streetcar that is a relatively short walk away that
can take me there in 15-20 minutes. Not what I’ve been used to, but otherwise
it would not be a compromise, would it. In fact, I was surprised to notice that, when I discussed it with my friends, many of them did not think the distance was
such a big deal. I guess we’ll have to see.
There is also another consideration that makes me more open to compromise: as my husband correctly pointed out, given the nature
of the housing market, do we want to risk the horror scenario of being stuck, last-minute
before our move, with a choice between a relatively central but cramped little
apartment and a big house much further away than my comfort zone would allow?

I was talking to a friend this weekend about her
experience when she moved to Austria a few years ago and she said something
that made an impression on me: she said that through that experience she grew
as a person. She learned a lot about herself that she would not have found out,
had she stayed in the comfort of her home country. By confronting and overcoming the many little
and bigger challenges involved in moving into a new country and culture, she
discovered what she is capable of (a lot more than she thought) – and that felt
good. Now, I don’t believe that I have to prove anything to anyone, including
myself, but I must admit it sounds like an interesting experiment.
The fact that it can be a limited-time experiment increases
its appeal: the house is only available for a maximum
of two-and-half years, before the owners come back from an overseas assignment.
What may be off-putting for other home-seekers is a blessing in disguise
for me, because it means that I don’t need to make such a big commitment here.
So
I’ve decided to see the whole thing as a project: a time-limited, personal
development project with clear targets. I will make the mental switch and consider it a possibility rather than as a necessity; a chance to see whether I am truly
miserable if I’m not in the city or
if it’s not such a big deal to have to take public transport or drive rather
than walk. I’m thinking about how liberating that realisation would be (or it could be a huge culture shock, but at least the experiment has an expiration date). And
maybe there is some secret charm to a house with a garden? Somehow having spent
most of my childhood in one didn’t do it for me, but we were visiting some friends yesterday and their home has a garden and my children were in heaven. They did
not want to leave. They were also so busy enjoying themselves on their own, that we could have some peace and enjoy time with our friends. That’s
quality of life I would not mind having for a little bit.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I could not live in a house without an open space … I've been used to it and I just love to step outside in my slippers and standing in the sun/rain/wind…
    and 20 minutes by tram? it's nothing! you'll enjoy the place and before you know it you'll have your house full of gardenind tools! (LOL)
    Aglaia

  2. Anonymous

    I think that you are challenging the idea of "perfection": perfect home, perfect garden… I believe that "perfection" is in the eye of the beholder AND at is highly linked to a time in one's life… I lived in a student room with a communal toilet (believe it or not!) and it was my perfect home.. At another stage in my life, I lived in a 150sqm with two balconies overlooking the Geneva lake and I had a lot of space BUT I hated it .. For sure I can't go back to the student room anymore but I just want to say that "a perfect home" is a place which works for you at a particular time in your life..

    1. You are absolutely right. That's why I've decided to give that garden a chance 🙂 Who knows, maybe a house with a garden is what works for me at this particular phase of my life (certainly works for the rest of the family). There's only one way to find out 🙂

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