There's this annual homes tour that lets folks crawl in and around Austin's most beautiful (and often modern) houses around town. The entire day of walking up stairs, running your hand across countertops and sighing heavily while looking through floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views is a mix of aspirational and exasperating. It can make walking into your own modest home at the end of the tour day about as exciting as deflating a balloon.
And then of course, there's the effect that living and functioning in the same space day in and day out has, which is full of reminders of how very not-perfect my home is. The pile of pots full of half-dead plants that mock my inability to keep anything green alive for very long. The obvious empty space in the living room I've meant to fill with DIY floor pillows (that if I'm being honest with myself, I'll probably never get around to doing). The mishmash of vintage furniture finds that while not unattractive, would certainly never be confused with a house full of today's most modern and expensive designs. Even with a cleaning routine, there are still daily reminders that chores are never-ending: the dishes I didn't get to, the stove that needs wiping, the pile of laundry that I got too busy to fold the other day.
For me it can be easy to live in a home that isn't what I quite want it to be yet. And living in that kind of home/mindset makes it hard to live in a home that you're grateful for having. But I've been working on tricks to help snap me out of the idea that a home has to be perfect all.the.time.
Take tea/coffee/a moment to pause everyday, whether your home is set back to ideal or not.
In a perfect world my home would be set at magazine photo shoot level every moment of every day. And it's true, I do enjoy my tea break more when the living room is fluffed to Instagram-ready. But I force myself to take my tea in my favorite spot whether I cleaned off the coffee table and put my shoes back where they belong or not. I try (sometimes fail) to leave my phone far away so I'm just sitting and sipping, living in a mindful moment, reinforcing the idea that even if my home doesn't look like some idealistic fantasy of perfect all the time, it is perfect for me all the time.
Fill it with friends and laughter
There's something so life-affirming about setting the lights down low, inviting some friends over and laughing. In fact it might be the easiest way to forget that you forgot some dust bunnies under your coffee table. It's true, it can take getting over the initial hump of wanting to apologize about everything/secretly fretting in your mind, but once you do that (aided perhaps by a sip or two of your favorite adult beverage) you can really relax not just into the moment, but relax into your home for what it really is: a warm place for living and enjoying life.
Make a mess in it
Celebrating how beautiful a home looks is great, but like a person, a home should be celebrated for more than its external qualities. How a home functions and feels is just as important. Just like doing something physical (like running a mile or getting through a yoga class) can make you not care about those few extra pounds you have yet to lose, doing something creative and messy in your home — cooking a big meal, making something, having a dance party and shoving all the furniture out of the way — can be a great reminder of how enjoyable your home is as it is, even if it isn't as magazine-worthy yet as you'd like to be.
How do you remember to enjoy your home for what it is, and not always live daydreaming about what it's not yet?