The Place Where You Belong

If you have ever built or remodeled a home, you know the glory and the grit involved.

It isn't simply the budget and the time required that end up being far greater than you ever imagined—it's the emotional investment.

Creating a proper nest is akin to birthing a baby.

Months are spent deliberating whether to go forward or not. I mean, it's a big damn deal, after all. When you finally decide you are all in, you go for it with great exuberance, and things start happening all at once, breathless and exciting. And at last, months and months of dreaming and planning become your new reality.

I wonder what it will be like? How it will feel? Will I love it? Can I afford it? Will it measure up to my lifetime of dreams? Will I be happy in my new place? How can I possibly make all these decisions? Which ones matter the most? What's up with all the butterflies in my stomach?

The months of planning can turn into something of an obsession. Poring over books and magazines, surfing the Internet, ordering all kinds of things you have no idea if you will like or need. You go to stores you never even knew existed before they pertained to you. Who knew there were so many choices? You seek out experts, trying to make up for your cluelessness, even though you pretend to know what you are doing. The process takes on a life of its own. It's almost surreal, watching the changes occur, noticing every little thing that you always took for granted when it was happening to someone else. Strangely enough, you come across people who are in your same situation, and finally you're free to talk for hours about the minutiae of it all without having to watch anyone fall asleep or begin to mumble responses like Whoa, look at the time. These new people feel like old friends. You want to be around people who understand what a big ordeal this is.

As D-day approaches, all kinds of complications crop up constantly. You feel so out of breath, and there are so many details to attend to. It's as if you are carrying the weight of the world. All you want to do is nest, but there is work to do! You go over your punch list (and your budget) again and again, thinking that the more you review exactly how you want it to be, the more control you will have over how it all turns out. Especially when it turns out. The when becomes extremely important. You are suddenly, shamelessly, willing to pester people endlessly to ensure that everything will be ready and go exactly according to your specifications. You know you are being a total pain, but you cannot stop yourself. You can only hope that people remember you from before, back when you were nicer and had more patience. But right now, the time for pleasantries and small talk is past; let's just get this thing done.

Regardless of your punch lists, your planning, and your attempts at control, the final result is always a surprise. Things unfold as they unfold; the date, the timing, and the final details are out of your hands. It's happening, and you have no alternative but to breathe deeply and surrender to the process.

The end is an enormous heave-ho, a true miracle. And suddenly there it is, the very thing you have thought about, prayed about, and dreamed about for so long.

The very place you envisioned is now the place where you belong.


Illustration by Joy Gallagher

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