Monday, May 30, 2016

Are you Still Living at Home? Maybe you should try it…

Fear not, millennials…gen x and y…and everything in between.  I’m not talking about moving back home or never leaving the nest!

I’m talking about whether or not any of us truly live at home anymore.  I’ve given this more thought as of late, considering my work days, school routine for kids, and all the “dot, dot, dots” in between the text bubbles of my blogosphere.

So what do I mean by living at home?  I, myself, didn’t realize the distinction until recently.  It begins with the idea of what it felt like to live at home when I was a kid.  Since I was the only girl and had three brothers, I was lucky enough to have my own room.  There was a certain kind of power I felt in being able to go to my room, close the door, and listen to music or read.  It was like I could close out the rest of the world.  Any chaos surrounding the edges of my own life were silenced the second I closed my door.   It was a sanctuary and calm for any storm.  But even beyond that room, there was a backyard, with a tree house, a water fountain my dad hung on the back of the house, and a basement where you explored, not lived.  Family rooms were non-existent in my house.  You lived in the room called the “living room.”  The living room was where the television was, the family stereo (8 track and all), and anything else that represented entertainment (including a silly video game called “Pong” - check out the graphics ).  We lived our lives around the house.  Sure, we had weekend getaways to our grandparents’ farm.  But during the school year and the every day kind of days of summer, our house was where we lived. 

Radio Shack state of the art stereo
In the summer, my mom laid out (sunbathed) in a white bikini, with her platinum blonde hair, and her skin a dark brown, glimmering from the Bain de Soleil orange gel sunscreen (SPF 4 and it was sun tanning oil back in the day).  She used one of those bendy kind of plastic roped loungers (you know the ones that clicked when you picked the perfect position, only to have it fall backwards and knock you on your butt).  We had an above ground pool, which is where we all lived in the summer months…except for when we were riding our bikes, barefoot and without helmets around the neighborhood. 

My dad loved the Cincinnati Reds.  I never understood listening to a baseball game on the radio, but it always passed the time after he’d cut the grass and climbed into his own lawn chair on the front porch.  And yes, he wore black socks with sandals, but somehow it didn’t seem to matter much back then.  He also usually had a frosty mug, with a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon nearby. 

We didn’t have play dates.  If we played sports, the fields were within walking distance.  So yeah, we lived at home.

Fast forward to my life today.  My house used to feel like a place to drop off stuff and run back out, to shop, go do busy work and run errands.  Because when I came home, all the responsibilities hung heavy in the air and I forgot why I loved this house.

They say necessity is the mother of all invention…well, I’d have to agree.  Because I’m not sure I would have decided to live at home again if it hadn’t been a requirement to adjust my standard of living back to where it needed to be. 

I started with denial.  No way I was going to keep up with all this stuff.  All I wanted to do was go to my room and close the door.  Note to self:  you are the mom and while you still have your own room, you have kids to raise, grass to cut, dishes to wash, and laundry...OMG there is always more laundry. 

Still I revolted, finding places to go and things to do that would take us out of the house and away from all of the work that needed to be done.  I got lucky with the yard over the winter.  You don’t cut what doesn’t grow in cold weather.  But around spring, it was clear I was indeed living at home and the rules had all changed. 

And then with the beginning of summer, came Memorial Day, the first long holiday weekend.  A team effort, we pulled the house together (mostly) inside and out…even managed to have Sunday supper with fresh strawberries, home made apple cake, and all the other “fixin's” that represent home to me.  Still, it was only starting to sink in for me…this idea of living at home.

Around noon today, I fully embraced this notion of moving back home for good.  After we’d all cut the grass, pulled weeds, and straightened up the dawned on me.

I was wearing my floppy hat, with green trim (it started out as a vacation hat last year in Kiawah and is now a must have for mowing grass and working outside).  I grabbed a book and a Diet Coke and headed out to the back patio.  I’m not a sun worshipper like my mom, so I grabbed my rocking wicker patio chair and dragged it into the shade.  I sat down, put my feet up, and looked around.  For once, I didn’t feel the need to retreat back into the air conditioning because compared to the sun beating down earlier doing yard work, there was a pleasant warm breeze in the shade.  There was a beautiful sky, with the fluffy white clouds I used to stare at as a kid.  And as I looked over at my planting beds and vegetable garden, I finally realized I still have it made, living at home.  I strongly recommend it…all it takes is looking at your four walls with a fresh set of eyes, where you can feel more than you see.


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