I spend a lot of time thinking about home. My driving ambition all through my 20s and 30s was to find a way to buy a house. Not just any house, but a house I could stay in. A house I could live in. I was the kid who went to six grammar schools, who switched custodial parents, whose brother died of cancer. Every time we got settled in, every time I made friends, some crisis arose and we had to go. As an adult, neither of my parents were much good at keeping themselves consistently or appropriately housed. I spent a lot of time in my 40s trying to keep a roof over my elderly mother’s head, trying to find someplace she could afford to live when she only had social security. That’ll scare you into keeping your day job, putting your money away, paying off the mortgage.
I have thought a lot about the idea of home as well. This line struck me "So many people had homes that were really more of landing pads, places where they slept and showered, ate sometimes, but primarily used as the space between spaces."
The pandemic has allowed or forced people to examine what is necessary in their life and what they only tolerated. It really shined the light on relationships - with people, with houses, with kids. Thank you for your writing!
Your dream has been forged by both deeply personal and universal realities. It's a difficult path that has driven you to find the place you really want/need to be physically mentally and spiritually. Through shaped by an unenviable circumstance I admire your clarity and appreciate your hard-won wisdom. Thank you for sharing this journey. Your missives are without exception enlightened and enlightening. This one, in particular, is alike finding some water in an otherwise arid landscape. Thank you.
I recently wrote about my "dream" living situation myself. This is what I came up with:
Sometimes I imagine my perfect living situation would be in a little shack, where I spend long hours sitting and writing and thinking, with a river or stream nearby, with an outdoor sitting area, and there are raised beds full of flowers so that at certain times of year the entire space actually vibrates with the buzz of visiting pollinators. Bird feeders, a few chairs, a table. I'm visited regularly, for days even at a time, by the people I love most, and who love me the most, but even they recognize that for me to maintain my sanity I need stretches of time and space all to myself. Not because I don't like company, but because I suspect the weight of my brooding presence can be difficult on others, and I'm often at my best alone where I don't feel I am bothering anybody.
Within walking distance of my shack is some big organic farm run by hippies and queer people and artists and Indigenous healers teaching people about native plants, the whole bit, and I'm just the grizzled old graybeard who doesn't hardly know shit about anything going on there but putters around helping out in exchange for a basket of food now and then, can effortlessly drive a stick shift, and is a pretty good source for dropping wisdom on all the troubled young people who are just getting started, who are wondering when they need to give up the itinerant life of hoboing along and get a "real job," and a “real life” and I can wave my ink-stained old hands extravagantly and say, "But this IS the real life!"