I've been planning my dream home for years. A white, cottage-style tudor with a timeless, yet modern flavor. Nothing extravagant, but definitely light, bright, and airy to capture the essence of a modern coastal cottage you might find on the shores of southern California or Australia. (Think "classic European meets small version of a Three Birds house".)
We had the downpayment ready to go, found a lot we thought was perfect, and met with a builder to have our dream plans adapted and changed to fit our needs.
But then, about two months into the process, we learned that the lot was too small for the house, which wasn't that big in the first place, so to change up the plans to make it smaller would have meant that our bedrooms would have basically been the size of closets.
So we had to let go of that lot and begin the search for another one.
But just as we were getting close to finalizing the next option, we found out that our son needed some medical treatments that were not going to be covered by insurance.
Goodbye downpayment, hello townhouse rental.
Now, we've been down this road before.
In fact, we've lost a couple of homes to medical bills. It's just what happens when two members of your family have to navigate the realities of complex, chronic illnesses.
But this one stung a little bit more because of how close we got.
And the saddest part is that there's still a part of my brain that is wired into thinking that either A, we weren't "righteous" enough or didn't have enough "faith," or B, we didn't think enough "positive thoughts" or maintain the "good vibes only." (One of my favorite designers did a post about "manifesting" her dream house the very day my son was in surgery, so that was fun.) This is why I believe both the "prosperity gospel" (in Mormonism this is called "pay your tithing and you get blessings") and the "law of attraction" mindsets are just so damaging to people navigating real life. It's just such a heartless and shameful way to view life when things don't go as planned. (I know these systems have "excuses" and "explanations" for these types of results, but they are placed as such an afterthought, that you can't help but feel like something is wrong with you when life is just hard.)
Thankfully, the compassionate part of my brain is getting stronger. It's the part that is warm, kind, understanding, honest, and loving. It's the part that says "you are doing the best you can with the complex realities you are facing." The part that says, "you may not have your dream home, but you can still create a feeling and capture an essence that you love."
So that's the part I try to give power to. It's still a battle in my brain, but I am trying.
I'm trying to remind myself that no, I don't have my dream home right now (I may never get it), but I do have other things I can focus on and be thankful for.
I can still cultivate creativity and intentionally nurture a meaningful space with the resources I DO have and also pay more attention to the beauty and natural wonders that are all around me.
Also, I am fully aware of the fact that there are many people who live with way less than I have, so to focus on what I don't have feels disrespectful and insensitive to me.
There are people who don't even have access to clean water, so who am I to feel sorry myself?
So here's to being content with what IS!
And here's to helping people who need access to clean water.