Jeff and I have been talking a lot lately about what “makes us tick” or, more eloquently put, what makes our heart feel alive.
I think society encourages us from an early age to be sensible and doing the things that make your heart feel alive don’t always sound sensible. Get on the honor roll. Your SAT score will dictate how successful you’ll be in life. Go to college. Get a job with a retirement plan. Settle down and fall in line. I wonder how many people are living a “plan B life” because they were told to be sensible?
Now, I’m not talking about throwing caution to the wind, shirking responsibility or just doing whatever you want at all cost, no matter who it hurts. I’m not talking about selfishly pursuing whatever makes you happy. I’m also not talking about what moves you emotionally or the depth of love you feel for your family.
I’m talking about doing things that stir excitement and adventure within your soul. Things that make you want to spread your arms and breathe in deeply. You can’t believe that this is your life and you’re getting to live it.
For some, it might be travel, experiencing nature, or pushing their physical limitations.
For me, it’s finding, saving and living with things that are old. It’s more than a hobby and more than a business. It’s more than just the way I decorate my home. When I am in an old home or pouring over old things, there’s that stir. It makes me feel a part of something bigger. I can’t fully explain why wide planked floors, worn woods, wavy glass, hand-carved dovetail joints, crazed ironstone and frayed quilts evoke such a strong feeling within me, but they do.
In past years, as Jeff and I have discussed what we want our next home to be, I have really pushed towards buying an old home. Jeff didn’t get it. He understood I liked old things and the home was an important thing to me, but he didn’t really get it.
“Why can’t we just build a new home that looks like an old one?”
He would point out perfectly valid impracticalities and challenges of owning a 100+ year old home. And that stir in my heart that would feel squashed under the weight of sensibility. Now, in fairness to Jeff, he didn’t realize the weight his practical arguments had on my hopeful heart and I have to confess to being a dream-squasher at times, too.
This past weekend, he took me to dinner at a restaurant in an 1800’s home. I sighed over the floors and exclaimed that he has to take note of the door on the way back to the bathrooms. Our conversation naturally meandered to talking about old homes and, of course, I took it in the direction of living in one some day.
I don’t just love the idea of living in an old home. That would be thrilling, but what I love more than that is saving an old home. Buying one that has been neglected or the victim of some poorly done 1970’s renovation and make it beautiful again.
Something in that conversation made Jeff get it. I could see the lightbulb behind his eyes.
“Saving old things makes your heart feel alive.”
I had never thought of it in those terms, but yes, it does.
So, I was trying to think of how to end this post. Write about our dreams and plans? Examine why these things make my heart feel alive? I sat here…the letter keys still on the keyboard with my fingers just resting on top. Maybe this isn’t the kind of post that has a neat bow at the end. Maybe this is the kind of post that just “puts it out there” and leaves it to rest on the mind of the reader.
Maybe it makes you wonder and then discover what makes your own heart feel alive…