How to Make Home Your Happy Place - A Blog Series
Updated: Jan 28, 2019
**PART 1: HOME**
“It’s not how big the house is; it’s how happy the home is that matters most.”
First, let's answer the question: WHAT IS HOME?
There are so many different kinds of places where people live: a house, an apartment, a condominium, even a houseboat on a lake or ocean somewhere. These are all places where you can sleep at night and keep your things, but that doesn’t mean it feels like a home. So, what is home? To me, home is where I feel most comfortable being me. It is a place I want to live and work and be with my family. It is where I most belong. There are so many songs about “home” that help define what it is for many people. John Denver wanted the Country Roads to take him home to where he belongs; Lynyrd Skynyrd knew they could hang their guitars comfortably in Sweet Home Alabama. Others feel home is wherever their love is, whether lover or family, and doesn’t have an actual address.
I am lucky enough to be able to be able to live near my parents and siblings so I see them a lot. My parents still live in the house where I grew up and, often times, I still call that home. It is my very first home. It is the place I learned about togetherness, support, and love. It is the place where I got through my first real heartbreak and where I decided what university to attend for college (Southern Miss To The Top!). To the outside world, it is just a house, but, as Miranda Lambert says: it was the “house that built me.” It was my home for 21 years until I graduated from college and moved into my very first apartment. My parents taught me what their version of ‘home’ looked like and it has been melded into what my view of home is now.
Since living with my parents, I have lived in five other places I have called ‘home.’ All of those places have a special place in my heart for different reasons: Matt and I built our very first house together and that is where we brought home our daughter, Lylah. We rented a house for a year after moving [back] to Georgia and that is where we found out we were pregnant with our son, Benjamin. Our current home is about 40 miles outside Atlanta, Georgia. It is about a 30 minute drive to my parent’s house and a 45 minute drive to my sister’s. We are surrounded by family and friends. Most of the reasons the homes are special to me has to do with family. My home is where my family is. To me, home is love, family, support, comfort, memories.
Ok, so that is Home. But...SHOULDN'T IT MAKE ME HAPPY?
I understood what "home" was to me. But there wasn’t always happiness at home for me. And my step one was to figure out why. Why wasn’t I happy the majority of the time (after all, it would be naive of me to think someone can be happy ALL the time)? What was it that was making me so unhappy?
Upon reflection, I realized that when my house is clean, I feel better. When my kids are playing and aren’t whining, I feel better. When Matt kisses me when he gets home from work, or when we have meaningful conversations, I feel better. But these things didn’t happen as often as they should have been to actually make me happy.
So, what changes could I make to make these things happen more often? The changes had to come from me and had to be about me. Why? Well, first, because my unhappiness wasn’t necessarily stemming from my husband and children - it was how I felt about how I handled a situation with my family or the cleanliness of my home. Second, it is so much harder to get others to change in the first place. I can’t expect Matt, Lylah, and Ben to change everything they do just because I am the unhappy one. As author Gretchen Rubin says via her blog post titled The Eight Splendid Truths of Happiness, “the only person I can change is myself.” It starts with me.
(Sidenote: Gretchen Rubin wrote a fantastic book called Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and Other Experiments in my Everyday Life. I highly recommend it. I has helped me in my journey to finding my own happiness. Find it here.)
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