Home alone in a big house that isn’t my own

When I was little, like most of us probably imagined, I thought I would eventually “grow up” and own my own home. I fantasized about how each room would have a different theme: one would be Chinese themed with Chinese calligraphy and landscape paintings; another would be Vietnamese with Vietnamese imagery; another would be beachy; one room would have a Moroccan theme (I just liked the Moroccan decor in restaurants). My dream house had large windows overlooking a beach, was two stories high with a staircase, and had at least one balcony on the second floor. And even back then, I imagined I’d have a massive kitchen. In my dreams then, it was a very white kitchen with large granite counters. I’d have a huge king size bed with a canopy over it. It would be dreamy and relaxing.

Well, I’m almost 37 now, and I don’t own a house. I don’t live in a house and live in an apartment. The idea of owning a house seems very daunting to me, not just from a cost standpoint but from a daily maintenance standpoint — cleaning, dusting, making sure everything’s working and not broken, updates and renovations, repairs — it sounds completely exhausting. But the other thing I think about is: how much space does a family of three (us) REALLY need? In the U.S. over the last several decades, homes (in suburbia) have gotten larger and larger, but the actual footprint of where family members go in their homes is actually quite small. What that results in is a lot of wasted space (and way too much clutter that gets accumulated since the more space you have, the more you think you need to fill it).

I thought about this as I walked around Chris’s parents’ large house this evening, all by myself. Ben was out with friends. I don’t think I’d ever been at their house alone at night before. Chris’s parents went out for dinner with their friends. Chris and Kaia went to a relatives’ house for a catch up, and I decided to stay behind because I just felt exhausted and wanted some quiet, alone time. In some rooms, I heard an echo as I walked through. It felt a little spooky to be in this huge house with so many rooms and things all by myself. Is this house old enough to have ghosts? What bugs are lurking around trying to get me? Oh, I did kill a huge fly that was buzzing around and driving me nuts that evening, plus 2 mozzies. It would be really overwhelming to have to manage and maintain a house of this size for myself and my own family. The space and the comfort of the space certainly come at a cost.

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