When I initially meet with a real estate agent to explain what I’m looking for, s/he usually asks the expected questions — size of the home, general features, locations and, of course, budget. Two years ago I met with an agent in Portugal to talk about property and she asked a question that I have since stewed over.
What does home mean to you?
I have been wrestling with that question, asking what a home — the physical space where I spend nearly 24 hours a day lately — represents in my life. What needs does it satisfy? What values does it represent? These are more critical questions than any of the practical logistical questions, including budget.
For some, a place is just that: a place to keep a bed and some clothes. Perhaps their life is almost entirely lived away or outside their personal space.
I am not that person.
A home is more than a reflection of my personal taste. It’s a reflection of my values. Even a humble home can reflect what is important to you. It’s one reason why a good kitchen and a gathering space are important to me. They represent my desire to create and nurture community around food. It’s why I must have outdoor space: because I value nature and outdoors. It’s why I don’t care for gigantic TVs : I prefer conversation or reading over screen time. It’s why I prefer spaciousness: I value privacy and quiet, and the ability to rest in moments of solitude.
The tension between needing quiet and solitude vs. desiring a sense of community is not lost on me. I struggle with trying to figure out how to find equilibrium between those two seemingly opposing needs.
This article addresses the importance of creating sanctuary in your home, particularly in these most troubling and uncertain times.
What values does your home represent or reflect?