I’ve never been very good at making a house look like I’ve actually made it a home. I spent so long moving after I left home, never spending more than a couple of years in any one house that for years there were boxes I never even unpacked but just shifted house to house. It shocks me as I get a lease renewal for this house that I will have spent two years here and am being asked to prepare for a third. I get itchy feet.
When I owned a home it was different because you are expected to put down roots. There were upsides to this – I took delight in painting walls with no one to tell me I couldn’t. It was good to be able to head into town, buy a can of paint and carry it upstairs, clinking and heavy with possibility. But even though I went through fits and bursts of energy attempting to create a home, I was always looking for somewhere else to land. My eyes always slid towards the horizon.
When I returned to renting it pleased me to think that I could just pack up and go without needing to sell a house or worry that prospective buyers would be turned off by the very same quirks that I loved. There was a freedom to it. I could move anywhere. I could sell everything and move to Hobart, to Melbourne, to a town that’s barely a dot in the map if I wanted. Renting was possibilities.
But I do feel unmoored. Temporary suits the flighty part of me. It soothes restless bones. But sometimes it is exhausting because the whole house can feel like one giant suitcase you are living out of. Easily packed up and taken at a moments notice. It can be unnerving to realise how little of yourself is left behind when you move on. At least at the old house there are memories of me in the Aloe Vera or Lavender I planted. Traces of me that exist in the cool dark dirt where my hands pressed into the soil and encouraged it to take root.
Sometimes I despair when I enter the house because it feels like a bizarre collection of things half done. There are two pieces of furniture in the entire place that I chose with purpose instead of either by necessity or was given. How can you feel home when you feel no attachment to anything? Perhaps if I worked on creating a sanctuary I wouldn’t get itchy feet every couple of years. Perhaps my eyes would stop looking for greener pastures. Now I think on it, I have no idea why I own a single thing that I don’t love or doesn’t bring me joy. Why do we keep ugly things? Every item in my possession should either hold a purpose to bring me comfort or pleasure.
It’s time to stop living here as though it’s a temporary destination. It’s time to stop waiting. It’s time to create a home.