How We Do Home is How We Do Life

This (Sorta) Old Life

I love pouring time and energy into my home not only because I enjoy the results but also because, on a fundamental level, I find the process deeply fulfilling. Yet I realize that many of my friends and acquaintances don't quite understand why I dedicate so much of my spare time to projects, tweaks, and research. Is there some point at which spending time improving your home becomes frivolous?

Rita of the blog This (Sorta) Old Life composed a piece last week that I feel eloquently expresses why pouring oneself into such projects is neither frivolous nor overindulgent. She writes:

As I embarked on my quest to make my house "nice," I had no idea what choices I really needed to make, much less the questions I should be asking, but the more I dug into "fixing up" my broken-down house, the more I saw that every choice reflected and shaped the lives we were living in it. Replacing the horrible carpet with new flooring, for example, wasn't just about what might look good.

It was about what might hold up well under my family — which meant looking at how we lived, and how we might live.

It was about what would be required to maintain it, which meant looking at how we lived, and how we might live.

It was about what I could afford (in both time and money), which meant looking at how we lived, and how we might live.

It was about which flooring material was most in-line with my values, which meant looking at how we lived, and how we might live.

How we do home is how we do life.

While it's undeniable that looking at blogs and magazines can make me yearn for things that I absolutely don't need, it's nice to be reminded that the reason I got interested in design in the first place wasn't simply centered on consumption or aesthetics. Outfitting our homes is fundamentally about making meaning out of our daily lives and about getting to know ourselves better through the places that we live and the things that we love. Sometimes taking the time to think through the needs, hopes, and desires we have for our home can help us realize some key needs, hopes, and desires for our lives more generally, and there's certainly nothing frivolous about that.

For more of Rita's insights, visit This (Sorta) Old Life.

(Image: Dabito's Modern Meets Classic Mix)

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Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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