I've been thinking lately about all the places I've called home. And how our past homes tend to stay with us as memories and feelings, long after we move. Home is where we are our most intimate, our most silly, our most ourselves — they become much more than just physical environments. If we're lucky, the homes we live in teach us lessons, about ourselves and about life. As an adult, I've now lived in a handful of homes of all shapes, sizes and locations. And they've all taught me something I've carried with me to today.
The studio in the trees
Tucked under oak trees blocks from my college (in Louisiana), my first "real" apartment was a studio on the second floor of a four-plex full of artists. A big window opened out to the tree canopy and let tons of light into the small space with real wood floors. I moved when they were torn down to build new condos.
Lessons learned: How to live alone. How hard is to keep a place clean when you don't do it regularly. And an important home value that I can't live without: That I thrive on natural light and being able to look at trees through big windows.
The studio in the hip part of a "weird" town
After moving to Austin eight years ago, I first shared a studio apartment in a hip part of town. It was tiny but charming, and within walking distance to lots of restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. But it was way too small for two people.
Lesson learned: I need my own space to retreat to every now and then to be the best and most creative version of myself.
The charming duplex (and the addition of my cat, Angus)
It was a 1950s era duplex in a Central Austin neighborhood and it was mostly adorable. But living in old buildings sometimes (oftentimes) means living in weather-related temperature extremes, weird bug infestations and not-always functioning house things. But boy did it have a great porch.
Lessons learned: I learned how to fix a lot of things myself — and that I hate being cold in my own home (so I do as many things to prevent cold and drafts as I can now). I learned that starting my mornings with a cup of tea and my cat by my side on a beautiful porch makes for better days.
The big industrial warehouse in small town Texas
I LOVED living in a small town. You can park right outside of the business you want to go to, for free! There's no stress trying to decide where to eat because there are only five choices! There's a constant stream of Instagram-able views and moments that revive the soul and recharge your creativity. But it's not without downsides.
Lessons learned: Introverts (like me) have a hard enough time dragging themselves out when events are in the same city; tack on a 40-minute commute either way and it's Netflix nights forever.
My current home
A two-bedroom apartment far from the "cool" part of town, but an absolute dream in terms of space, natural light and price. It didn't come complete with every aesthetic must-have I thought I needed (I'm looking at you, fake wood floors). But I'm having fun slowly finding vintage furniture to fill it up with and hanging art I've collected over the years on the walls. And there are lots of tree views to look at through all my windows.
Lessons learned: Home isn't about having every box checked off your home must-have list (but it is about trying to find places that do have your most important home values). It's about how a place makes you feel and having a home that motivates you creatively. And I continue to learn that starting my mornings with a cup of tea and my cat is still the best way to begin each day.
→ What lessons have you learned from the homes you've lived in?