It’s my fifth housiversary!
But this morning, I was feeling reflective. We tend to do that on birthdays and anniversaries that are divisible by 5.
When the alarm went off, I laid in bed for a few minutes, stretching and yawning, listening to talk radio as my brain woke up. I gazed over the river and watched the sunrise sparkle and shimmer on the water, promising another bright spring day.
Sure, I’ve done a lot of improvements, replaced a lot of windows and doors, painted, maintained, etc. And there are still things left undone from the very first to-do lists.
But more than anything, I’ve made this a home in a way that none of my apartments ever were. Living in a place over an extended period of time, you get comfortable. You try things in different places and learn that the Christmas tree fits best along that wall, or the best place to put the patio table for optimum sunshine. Every spring, the bulbs planted that first fall continue to delight.
You spread out, and hang souvenirs and photos throughout the house. Add shelves, configure storage, and reconfigure six months later when you find a better solution. You add scuffs to the walls and baseboards from day-to-day living and moving around.
The place is thick with memories. From turning the key that first day to celebrating new jobs, birthdays and grad school to surviving snowfalls and basement geysers, every room brings back a flood of memories and moments, from the monumental to the mundane.
Most of all, though, it’s home. There’s a sense of relief that envelops me as I cross the threshold after a rough day. It’s knowing that I don’t have to abide by an Alzheimer’s-addled landlord who forgot he cashed my check and threatened eviction.
And it’s community. I moved to Elgin knowing barely anyone, and not really sure I knew what I was getting into. But the neighbors and community I have found have surpassed my wildest expectations and make the entire neighborhood and city, beyond my property lines, truly home.
So here’s to the first five years. They weren’t perfect, and I really, really need to finally replace those damn light fixtures that have bugged me since Day 1, but I’m lucky to have made such a great home. Here’s to many more.