We bought our lovely three-bedroom semi-detached house in June 2015. After seeing it listed online and initially discounting it completely, my sister talked us into ‘giving it a chance’ and going to take a look. On the first viewing alone, we absolutely fell in love. It wasn’t because the house was perfect as it was, but I could see it had huge potential and I could vividly envisage the end results. Sure, there was work to do – but this made it even more appealing as we wanted to stamp our own mark on this tired and run-down previously rented property. Fast forward five years and our house is now up for sale and I have to be honest – I have mixed feelings about it. Although I’m ready to embark on the next chapter of our lives and find a new place to call home, this house really has been a labour of love – for both me and my husband.
There is so much excitement that comes with buying your first home. The anticipation of the life you will lead in it and the freedom to do with it as you choose. We started our renovation journey in the winter of 2015 as I meticulously planned and pinned my vision for the whole house and then we set to work transforming each room, starting with the loft. There was barely a month that went by that we weren’t busy knocking down walls and decorating, and I could tell you renovation stories about every single room. Like the time we thought we could install an electric fire into the old chimney breast in our living room without professional help. Or the time our builders neglected to put the correct steel beam in our kitchen ceiling and had to rip all the fresh plaster off only to start the process again from scratch.
I LOVE this house, and so the decision to move hasn’t been an easy one. My indecisiveness has driven my husband mad at times. One minute I find myself excited by the thought of a new project and I can’t wait to get my interior design juices flowing again, and the next minute I’m sobbing at the thought of someone else standing at my kitchen sink looking through my patio doors into the garden that I adore. It’s made me think about embracing happiness in the present moment vs. striving for happiness in finding the next “big thing”. Five years ago all I wanted was a beautiful home with an open-plan kitchen/diner to entertain my friends and family and a garden to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs. And yet now I have all of these things, I find myself wanting more….
There is so much out there that tells us to be happy in the moment, to live in the present and not always be aiming or striving for more. But is it OK to be happy in the moment AND still want more? I think it is possible – surely you can show gratitude for what you have but recognise that some of your dreams are still a work-in-progress?
The decision to sell the house, for me, ultimately came down to my outside space. Whilst my garden is beautiful, it’s also the size of a postage stamp and there isn’t a square inch that goes unused. I’m growing carrots in containers, potatoes in pots, strawberries in sleepers and beans in baskets. From figs and French beans to leeks and lettuce, I can’t possibly fit anything else in. And I want more. I find calm and comfort when I’m gardening and growing new life and I long for a greenhouse to start experimenting with so much more. I dream of raised beds and cut flower borders, of a large lawn and rockeries to grow interesting new plants.
So, although I am very happy in my current home, I have begun to recognise what it is I need more of in my life to make me happier. I don’t want a lavish lifestyle or ridiculous riches. I want a corner of the world that’s just a little bigger than the one I’m currently occupying. So in order to do more of what makes me happy I am willing to give up the home I love for the life I long for. I just can’t promise there won’t be tears along the way.