Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Life is a House & Building "Home" is Necessary

Why Life is a House & Building "Home" is Necessary // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET

I was thinking recently about how this life is like a house. I'm not sure when this idea popped into my head, or if I've heard it explained like this before, but all I know is, the more I think about it, the more it makes perfect sense. Let's look at the stages of home construction (and by this I mean the stages of life) that I've lived through so far.

CHILDHOOD: The Foundation

Childhood is the pouring of the foundation. All the defining of Things.

What does a cow say? Why do we wash our hands? How do we dress ourselves? What are the common rules of our culture? How do we speak to one another effectively? Our childhood is full of learning. As babies we are essentially blank slates -- the ground before a house is built. As we learn the basic tools for getting by in life, like how to speak, and what things are called, and what they do, we form a firm foundation on how to understand the world. We may not understand the nuances of the world, but we can at least process the information our senses take in. 

YOUNG ADULTHOOD: Build, Demolish and Rebuild

Ah yes, our roaring twenties. How much fun are our twenties? Life was a wild ride, every night being different. Every day being a new adventure. The constant newness of life in our twenties is exhilarating. Regularly meeting new people, taking in new experiences and forming new value systems was the main theme of my life during this time. I built myself up, tore myself down, and then rebuilt myself over and over. So many times I'd frame the "house" I thought I was going to be, only to find that I wanted to start over and try something new a little further down the road. It's a crazy time, being in your twenties. I changed so much and so many times. I learned more about myself and the "house" I wanted to be each time I demolished and rebuilt. By the time my twenties were ending, I was putting the roof on my "house" and so ready to move in. I loved the house I'd built out of me.

Why Life is a House & Building "Home" is Necessary // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET

Why Life is a House & Building "Home" is Necessary // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET

THIRTIES: Finish Work and Decor

So far my thirties have been what I like to call the finish work and decoration phase of construction. I know so much about who I am, and what I want, that it appears I've moved on from the demo and rebuild phase and am now just adding to what's been built. I'm moving around furniture, hanging up art on the walls, and painting the trim as I add new skills, form good habits, and strive to create an atmosphere of steady peace in my life. I am now able to add appropriately to my life, and get rid of what's not working, because I know the basic building blocks of what I want for me. The framework has been laid, and now I just need to finish the job. I imagine this is what happens for the rest of my life.


I look forward to seeing how the years and next phases of life change this house I live in, and make it grow. This life is meant to be lived. It's meant to be full of change, learning, growth, and construction. It's meant to have moments where you sit there in a pile of rubble, saying to yourself that it's time to rebuild. It's meant to be your home. We need to find our home in our lives.

Why Life is a House & Building "Home" is Necessary // WWW.THEJOYBLOG.NET


I love the analogy of houses being our lives, because I like to think of my mom as my previous home. The silly saying, "Home is where my mom is." was extremely true for me. Whenever I needed anything, I could go to her. I know that I write about losing her a lot, but it was one of the defining moments of my life. 

I haven't felt the perfect feeling of "home" ever since she left us two years ago. When she first passed away, I felt lost like I imagine an orphan feels. I suddenly felt like there was no home feeling in my life. I felt like I'd lost my shelter from the storms. I felt like I was spinning my wheels, and stuck out in the cold. I wasn't an orphan, but I felt like it was the truth. As Mother's Day approaches, I'm reminded of that feeling again. 

Home is where my mom is, and if she's not here, I have to do my best to make my life my home. It's been one of the hardest things for me to do... to build that feeling in my life. You know the one I mean, the one where you walk through your mom's front door, and suddenly you just know for however long you're there, you're going to be taken care of. You're going to be loved endlessly, treated like gold, and made to feel like you are a million bucks. You're going to feel safe, peaceful, and like nothing is wrong in the world. I don't know how moms do it, but I sure can tell you, it's one of the best things in life. I miss it dearly.

This song by Miranda Lambert holds special meaning to me in this regard. My mother was "the house that built me", and I try to remember all her advice, and the feeling of home that came when I was around her. And little by little, I find that I feel at home in fleeting moments of life, and I know I'll be ok. Board by board, my home is being built. 


Houses are refuges from the storms, shelter from life, and a place we all go when we need to be ourselves or rest from the hardships of life. Maslow's hierarchy of needs lists shelter as one of the fundamental needs we have as humans. It's so important for us to find our own feeling of "home" in our lives. It's vital for us to be our own refuge from the storms. It's so important for us to be able to give ourselves the feeling that we are safe within ourselves, and to be able to cheer ourselves up and make ourselves feel like a million bucks. The only person that's with us always is ourselves, so we thrive when we learn to be our own home. Then, wherever we go, we're safe because we are home. 

++ Are there any stages of life you would call something else than what I named them? Have you lived more stages than I have? Who was your home, and are they still around? How do you build your own feeling of home?

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