We arrived to this house we now call home on January 24th, 2017. One year ago. We pulled in around maybe 7pm or so and found the front door unlocked. We wandered in, taking the first real look in person at our new home (we’d been in and out of this one quickly while seeing something like 40-50 homes on our buying trip – we’d ruled this one out within minutes and didn’t carefully stow the images of it away in our long-term memories).
Things I hoped for within a year have come to pass:
I can drive to plenty of places without getting directions now. I even know a handful of back roads. I have friends! Though I’ll be working on enhancing and broadening this tribe here forever, I have some really lovely, legit, make-me-think, make-me-feel-good, super duper inspiring friends already. Ever adapted to the change and is happy. I found her a daycare and she enjoys it. Some transformative renovations have taken place, making our home much more livable. I’m playing music, I’ve recorded, and I’m getting ready to start doing my thing in public again. We have some people in our pocket who can help with babysitting and dog-sitting and house-sitting type things.
Other things I’d hoped for just aren’t here yet.
We aren’t any closer to overcoming Ever’s egg allergy, though at least we’re in a place with some great allergists and lots of safe food options. We have only accomplished a fraction of what we’d envisioned for a year – even in our most conservative estimates – with the house. I never would have thought that a year later, we still wouldn’t be totally done with the painting and flooring upstairs. In fact, I thought that we’d be done with all of the big stuff within a year – including downstairs and the broken fence – and we haven’t even begun those two things yet. That means the Airbnb listing we’ve been looking forward to creating doesn’t exist yet and neither does the income we hope to earn from it. That means we’re still shuffling around room to room, not feeling moved in yet really, and still budgeting extra hard to afford the undertaking.
One year into a place is meaningful, though. I can look back at all of the moves I’ve made before this one in my adult life (Ohio – New York, New York – Texas, Texas – New York, New York – Michigan) and clearly see that the first year of being in a place was always a bit chaotic, but that after that first year, I would start loosening up a bit, feeling more settled. But it did take time. It always did, it always does. That’s been even more pronounced with a child in the mix – the time it takes for a new place to start feeling like home is exaggerated when you’re a parent. Even more so when you’re a parent who works from home and doesn’t go to school or anything like that. We can’t just go out whenever we want to mingle with our peers the way we could when we were childless, which adds another layer of social complexity to it all. On the flip side of that though, Ever’s been an organic ice-breaker. Sometimes I feel too socially anxious to reach out and make friends while on a walk or at the park or paying the grocery store cashier and it’s often Ever who gets conversations going. This happens so reliably that I think it’s exposure-therapied me out of my own shell a bit.
Milestones aside, we are here and we’re building a life I had dreamed about for so long. It’s all underway. It’s lovely and difficult, rewarding and frustrating, overwhelming and surprisingly natural – it’s home. I take comfort in the fact that this will all feel even more like home one more year from now. In the meantime, here’s a look back at some stuff from the last year, featuring photos and words!
It’s been a full year of being in this new home of ours. Our first forever home. Our first owned house.
I’ve been working hard on crafting my songs and at some point last summer, I’d decided I’d had enough of my own reclusiveness and I played a song live in front of people. Not too longer after that, I went out on a limb and scheduled some recording time. Now I’ll be releasing my first song in a lonnnnng time soon and feel ready to start playing shows, though I think I’ll start with some open mics so I can effectively warm back up to it all. And then I’ll release more songs – some for my own project, but hopefully some as a part of other projects, too.
There was an eclipse and a white Christmas (!!!). I think I felt my first earthquake. There was a drought and a forest fire so bad that we couldn’t be outside for a couple of days – the air was thick with smoke; the car was covered in ash.
I made beer. I tried the Impossible Burger. I leveled up my self-taught mycology game. I got some products c/o Chefman that are helping me to further expand in culinary stuff – the massive dehydrator and air fryer are probably my favorites so far (stay tuned for some recipes on their site.) I discovered hard seltzer this past year. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Let’s go with good. I had the worst flu I ever remember having.
Our house guests (and there were many) were inspiring with their generosity –fixing things around the house for us, buying us meals, bringing sweet and thoughtful gifts, helping out with childcare … I’m so deeply grateful for this big community of ours. And some of them listened to me play my songs in the only setting I’ve felt comfortable doing so for a long time (my home) and they encouraged me – I’ll never forget this.
Ever took dance classes and swim classes while I’ve taken a more active role in teaching her music.
It’s life, folks. It’s happening. I could list all of the not-good things here for you too that have happened, but I’m not much a of “Worst of 2017” person. Don’t think bad stuff didn’t happen – plenty of dark clouds hung over us during this last year. But my joy feels like it swells when I focus on the good stuff, so that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m hopeful for what my second year in this home will bring.