Something’s gone wrong. I should be feeling overjoyed, now that we are in our new house, our own house, this that I have wanted and wished for and dreamed of over the last two decades in ill-fitting rentals. But I am completely taken aback by my emotions. These past few days, I have felt less grounded, less settled, less sure of anything than I have felt in years. Suddenly, I am questioning everything, I am sure of nothing …except for one thing: I am very very homesick. And bursting into tears at a moment’s notice, at the dumbest things. At the sight of the church steeple lit up against the night sky, which I can see through our bedroom window, and which, for a moment, my mind convinced me was sat upon an old stone church in small English village, like so many I know, and that I could just step out the door and walk right up to if I wanted… Buying a home at last, I expected to feel joy, I had hoped to feel the start of settledness. Instead, I feel blindsided.
And here, I think, is why: now that we have done this at last, now that this goal has finally been achieved, there is one last thing left to do. It’s not replacing the pink-and-blue bathroom tiles, it’s not ripping out the kitchen and putting in the shiny new one I have been lusting after, it’s not replacing the scarily ancient furnace, or even buying some furniture so we at least have someplace comfortable to sit down at the end of a long day. The thing that’s left — the thing that has turned out to be the biggest thing, when I thought we’d just achieved the big thing — is to answer the question, “Was it worth the price?”
Out furniture shopping with my mother and the girls today, my nerves were in shreds and everything felt raw. I was struggling with all three of them, for various reasons that weren’t actually anywhere near as big as they felt. I could feel every word my mother said like a physical blow and the girls’ boisterous behaviour was cutting straight through me. M’s reaction to the move has been to feel the separation from his kids with renewed desperation, and both of us have been feeling an urgent need to lay the groundwork for getting back home again. I suddenly didn’t know what I was doing in a furniture shop. What is the point of spending money furnishing a house here if we are only going to try to leave it again as soon as possible? What was the point?
Suddenly, I just had to leave. I walked back to the car — nearly ran, actually — and, once I locked myself in, the sobs came so hard that my body shook and my own wailing voice startled me. I curled up backwards on the passenger seat and hung on to the headrest as I let it all just work its way out and then, when at last I recovered my calm, I had to ask myself, am I doing this to myself? Am I just one of these miserable people who can’t ever be happy? Refuses to be happy? Is it all actually much easier than this, if I could just find a way to let go of the angst? Is there any justification for this or am I just bound and determined to never find that ever-elusive sense of peace, of having found my home?
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching lately: I have been trying to look at whether the things that annoy me in other people are actually more a problem in me. I have been trying to look at my relationships — with M, my daughters, my friends, and particularly my mother — with fresh eyes, and a little more honesty. I have walked away from a few things that I felt weren’t good for me, were distracting me from what’s important. I am trying very very hard to react more often with kindness and patience. I am trying not to sweat the small stuff. And I don’t know if I’m making progress, but I flatter myself that I am. But this wild and unexpected reaction to finally — finally — moving into a house of our own has really got me questioning all that.
Because today, I could have walked away from an awful lot more than just a day out shopping. And it really wasn’t supposed to feel this way.