How One Couple is Turning Their Biggest Financial Mistake Into the Home of Their Dreams
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Making My House Fit My Life, Not My Life Fit My House
There are so many times I hear, "I'll put that up when we buy a house," or "we'll throw a party when we have more space," or "we can't have a baby until we move someplace larger," and it makes me feel sad. Our home is also small – 1200 square feet and only a sliver of deck space. No yard, no basement, and we share one wall with our next door neighbors and live above our downstairs neighbors. It's less than perfect in a lot of ways. But I'm 31 and living my life now. And I'm known for being impatient. I don't want to wait until I have a house to do things, like have children and throw them birthday parties. So we do the best we can with what we have. We make our house fit our life, and we don't change our life to fit our house.
This weekend we had Matt's family over for dinner to celebrate Father's Day. It was lovely, and we didn't need a bigger house to do it. We actually keep our old dining room table (the one we had before we made over the formal dining room into a play room) disassembled underneath our bed. When we're going to have a large dinner gathering, we just drag it out, put the legs on, and we're good to go. It takes about 10 minutes to do, and allows us to have these larger gatherings without having a place to keep a big dining room set permanently. I don't want to wait to sit around a big dining table sipping wine and eating grilled steaks, laughing with my in laws about what Matt and his sister were like as kids. I want to do these things, make these memories now.
I don't want to wait until we have a yard to plant flowers and herbs, and create a little outdoor living area. So we work with what we have – lots of containers and small furniture and a little electric grill. It's a little messy and cramped, but it's also welcoming and cozy.
We still have big parties at our house … my birthday party was a crazy gathering of 23 adults, four toddlers and two babies. It was pouring rain that day, so everyone circled around the peninsula in the kitchen, perched on the sectional, played with toddlers at the train table, nursed babies in the nursery, or sat on the floor eating pizza and drinking beer. It was loud and boisterous and fun. In theory, we totally don't have room for 29 people, but we did it anyway.
That's kind of how we operate. We just go for it and figure it will all work itself out. Because it usually does, and then we've had a lot of fun on the journey instead of waiting.