WHAT TO DO WHEN IT FEELS LIKE YOUR HOUSE IS FALLING APART
The other day I logged onto Facebook to see my friend had written a post about how frustrated she was that her house wasn't finished after nearly 2 years of living there, and that she felt like she was living on a building site. I on the other hand, was grappling with the seriously-fucking-annoying problems of things feeling like they were falling apart just as we seemed to get them finished. But I found a pretty unconventional way to get over it.
After a particularly hard week I'd come home and started to get my daughter ready for bed when I realised that almost overnight, a huge black mould patch had grown in the corner of her room due to condensation. We have single glazed Art Deco style Crittall windows, the originals from 1931, and whilst they look freakin' awesome, they don't make me feel it when the winter comes around and we start to battle condensation damp again. I walked into the kitchen to grab some kitchen towels and the mould spray to start scrubbing it off and took a look at our kitchen floor. The original floor tiles were painted black when we moved in (to save costs of a brand new floor) and had held up pretty well for a few months. But after 2 years, the paint had started to bubble up and flaked off daily. You can walk into the kitchen or bathroom, take a step away and hear a big rip as another huge paint flake come away with your foot. Great! I looked at it and felt at the end of my tether. I was frustrated, pissed off, tired, and angry. Just as we started to get things looking nice in our flat, it all seemed like it was about to fall apart.
I started to understand why my mother was always complaining about her house and things breaking or getting ruined. Old buildings look beautiful and have so much character, but damn, they really make you work for their love. During the winter months they really do need some extra TLC.
Tender, Loving, Care.
Hmmm... That got me thinking.
That was a few days ago, and I'm pleased to say I've slightly calmed down. I realise that a lot of how I felt that day was a manifestation of other issues that had been going on in life that had nothing to do with the flat. Home is meant to be somewhere that you come back to and relax, and when you can't relax in it you feel let down. It may sound stupid, but I feel like my home has a personality and a soul, and on that day I felt like it was fighting with me.
So what did I do to get over it, and what can you do if you feel the same way?
When I started to think of my flat as a living entity, a soul within its own right, I felt compassionate instead of frustrated. Buildings and properties are never really ours, we are merely a guardian for the duration of our stay. It is our job to look after and nurture these buildings, and so I started to look at it as an old friend that needed a bit of TLC. Instead of feeling like it was fighting with me, I started to feel more love and care for the walls and roof that shelter my family. That made me feel a lot better and shifted my anger to a feeling of empathy. Of love and caring.
Secondly, I let myself of the hook. I stopped holding myself against my own and others people's judgement. Because do you know what? I am doing my best. Ok, a mould patch may have grown because I've been so wrapped up in working hard and earning enough to support my family that I'd missed it, but hey, I was busy... working hard! Ok, the floor might be chipping because we went for the cheap way when we moved in, but hey, we couldn't afford it at the time. Why am I punishing myself for that? Let yourself of the hook and stop comparing yourself to others. Every family and every property has its own set of unique conditions and circumstances that no-one else can imagine or judge upon, and if they do, they shouldn't be a part of your life anyway.
Lastly, I made a plan. A plan to start to care for my property and do my best within my means to improve the problems. No, I may not be able to shell out ten grand for double glazing, but a pretty good dehumidifier may start to help. And instead of prioritising new clothes or material items to show off, I'll invest that money in getting the floor sorted. I'll start to care for my property like I would if an elderly family member was struggling to get down the stairs. After all, my home is nearly 84 years old!
Your property has a soul too, are you caring for it?