Over the last few months I’ve had a couple of friends put their houses up for sale, or think about moving. This has led me towards the toxic allure of Rightmove with its siren-like call. Ostensibly on the look-out for potential houses for my friend, I was drawn in my the endless photographs of houses with the potential to be my ‘forever’ house. I take people on imaginary tours round the new abode and its delectable gardens. I host parties and playdates. All in my head. The result of which is dissatisfaction with the home we already have. It starts to look jaded, stale, small, and lacking in the shiny newness that houses on Rightmove exude.
There’s also another worry when friends move house. Will they then start to look down on us once they move to bigger and better? I feel thoroughly shallow even typing that sentence, but it actually happened to us with a close friend of my husband who was repeatedly and insufferably rude and offensive about our very ordinary house in a less-than-desirable area, once he moved, as he saw it, ‘up in the world’. The friendship didn’t survive sadly.
I’m sure that surfing Rightmove is designed to make people feel inadequate and dissatisfied. It certainly does that to me. But these really are first-world issues, especially in light of the Grenfell fire and migrants fleeing war and when homelessness in this country is on the rise. It’s time to puncture the idea that moving upwards and onwards is the right thing to do, sometimes it’s just better to sit back and appreciate and be grateful.
So, with that in mind, I thought it might be a helpful exercise to actually think about our home and concentrate on some of the reasons why I love it. I thought about last September when I sat in the bay window seat reading by candlelight as the autumn dusk descended. Or, when in the morning I sit on a pallet bench made by my friend’s brother and sit with a cup of tea watching the sun peep over the garden fence. It turned out that once I started to think about why I love our home that instead of feeling ‘stuck’ in a house that I’ve lived in for nearly 20 years I realised just how secure it makes me feel in its stability and predictability and just how lucky I am to have it.