I am sitting alone in front of my computer on a Saturday night. Three kids are sleeping upstairs. I have a gin and tonic by my side and there is a bat in the floor. Yes. A bat and the floor. Thus the gin and tonic.
One year (plus some months) have come and gone since we took a leap and purchased this old girl. Was it the right choice? Do I regret it? Do I wonder sometimes? Yes. No. Yes.
125 years have come and gone and this old house has stood as a witness to them. Electricity. Indoor plumbing. Cars. Paved roads. World Wars. Television. Moon Landings. The Internet. And we’ve been living here for a mere year of it.
As I scraped away the layers of paint on the house last summer, and as I peeled away wallpaper this winter to reveal long-ago chosen designs, I am just so thankful that Lance and I made the decision to make our home about more than a building we live in. Moving here has changed so much.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been utterly fascinated and in love with old houses. While things about my life and personality have changed with years, that part of me has remained the same. One year ago, I went to hear a speaker give a talk about finding purpose to a group of women. She told us that we were all given birth-right gifts and that by age 10, the things we are gifted in and passionate about have already emerged and will stay with us through the rest of our lives. My curiosity was peaked. I couldn’t stop thinking about how her words might apply to my own life. Maybe I should just go with who God has made me to be. Maybe my interest in old houses and old things was more than just a quirk… maybe I was given this personality “quirk” on purpose. So I went with it.
It’s pretty clear that I’m in love with my house, but I am also head-over heals with my neighborhood and what is happening here. The month after we began living here, I attended my first neighborhood association meeting and have found it to be one of my favorite nights of the month. Gathering together with other neighbors to share both positive and negative happenings in our shared living space has been so valuable. Dreaming and planning for a shared future has been inspiring. I think part of the energy I feel from being part of this group comes from living in a space that could easily surrender to decay, to “progress,” or to crime, but instead we choose to encourage and promote appreciation for and beautification of our past. To invest in what’s already here. To be the change we’d like to see in the world. To offer support and recognition. To celebrate good things in life with our neighbors and to offer sympathy and help when it’s needed. I love living in a neighborhood were neighbors recognize the need and value of being a good neighbor.
In December, a friend sent me a message announcing an opening in the Mayor’s Board of Historic Preservation. She said she thought I might like to apply. And she was right.
In February, I got a call from the Mayor’s office that I had been selected to fill the vacant seat. It is something new that feels like something I’ve been hoping to find for such a long time. And it all began with decision to satisfy a girlhood longing to live in an old house.
Here’s to year number two.