(Go ahead, make a cup of tea, grab your coffee...maybe a beer...I'll take a sip of my wine while I wait for your return.)
It is the eve of the anniversary of my birth. Tomorrow I turn 35. I can honestly say it's the first birthday I can ever remember dreading. I mean don't get me wrong...I have a great day planned. Time with my girls. Lunch with a dear friend. The arrival of another dear friend and her girlies come afternoon. I think I may even get a birthday kiss from my hubby since it sounds as though he's going to be able to leave Chicago a bit earlier than planned tomorrow. It's not the day I'm dreading, it's the number. The marking of the mid-point of my 30s.
Remember when I turned 30? I had so much hope. Rereading that post tonight was kinda fun. So many of the thoughts I had about venturing into my 30s still stand true today. Love through family and friends...check. The chance to develop my professional dreams...check. More comfort in knowing who I am...check. In many ways my 3rd decade of life so far has been just as lovely as I had expected. On the flip side it has often sucked in ways I could have never guessed.
35 isn't so much looking like I had expected right now. So many changes are on the horizon that instead of feeling the comfort of "30s stability" that I had envisioned, I feel like I'm revisiting those angsty mid-20s when one is just trying to figure out where the heck life is headed. Only this time around I have 2 dependents, a mortgage, and a bit more jaded view of the world.
Which brings me to point 2...
All this cleaning is in part due to the arrival of our guests, in part with the thought of getting the house on the market. I will admit, I am somewhat embarrassed to have people come to our house. (Which sucks...because my favorite social gatherings are those held casually in the comfort of a home.) The carpet BADLY needs replaced. (I've been drooling over bamboo flooring options trying to figure out if I really NEED two kidneys.) The windows are showing their 50+ years of age. The curb appeal...well lots not talk about that right now. Our dogs, probably because we rarely have people over, get all freaked out with extra bodies in the house. Their behavior embarrasses me...not to mention the guarantee that you WILL leave our house with dog hair somewhere on your person upon visiting. (No amount of vaccuming seems to change that either.) The girls' bedroom...where to even begin with that heap of babies/stuffies/art supplies/Barbies/Polly Pockets/random bits of crap because they can't seem to part with anything...EVER. While we have a comfortable house, it's far from any decorators idea of purposeful design. It's a bit more like the guest cottage or modest vacation cabin that you furnish with cast-offs from a former life and thrift store finds.
The thought of having people come through our house with a buyers eye SCARES ME TO DEATH! Will they fixate on the fact the wood floors in the bedrooms are in desperate need of a refinishing or will they see the spacious backyard full of shade? Will the sagging gutters turn them off or will they see how lovely the morning sunlight is as it streams through the large living room windows?
We once walked through this house mortified by the 80s wall-paper and cheap wood paneling that once covered its walls but realized with a little hard work that it was a place we could turn into OUR home. There's so much potential we just simply haven't had the chance to explore. The busting out of an opening for patio doors onto a new backyard deck. The finishing of the basement complete with wet bar, 4th bedroom, and 2nd bathroom. An updated exterior in shades of latte, foam and rich dark chocolate against which the bright colors of my summer perennials could pop. This house was far from the house we had envisioned ourselves buying 6 years ago...but it has become our home...even with all it's imperfections. I hope that when we finally get around planting a "for sale" sign in the front yard someone else can see the potential that this little piece of the neighborhood holds.
I guess in some ways it's all about appearances. About expectations. Life isn't looking like I EXPECTED as I turn 35. Our house doesn't necessarily represent who I think we are as a family simply because we haven't had the funds to make some updates. For someone who normally doesn't give a rat's poteuty about what other people think of me, that sounds awful "keeping up with the Jones," doesn't it?
See why I don't spend more time cleaning?