We all take things for granted when we become sufficiently comfortable. We do it with our jobs: positions we were thrilled to secure become humdrum obligations that serve mainly as bland backdrops to the rest of our lives. We do it with the people we care about: we shower them with affection at first, then act like they’ve always been there and aren’t going anywhere.
More than anything else, we do it with our possessions. The money in our bank accounts, the items we’ve collected over the years, and most notably the homes we live in. We forget how excited we were to get them: how they transformed our lives, and how fortunate we are to have them. They seem static and obvious. Surely everyone has those things?
When that comfort goes away, though, we can view things differently — so now that a global pandemic has radically changed how we live and do business, keeping people at home most of the time, we might reconsider what we want from our living spaces. Will this situation make us re-evaluate how much we value our homes? I think so, and I’m going to explain why:
Protecting what really matters to you
Being stuck indoors is giving us all time to think, and the broad impact of COVID-19 — not only taking lives but also damaging or even destroying businesses and jobs — has certainly provided a lot of food for thought. It’s in times of hardship that we can stop obsessing over trivial things and start thinking about what really matters to us: typically survival, family, and safety.
Our homes are key for all of those things. They protect us from the outside world, safely sheltering us, our families, and all the belongings that have sentimental value (photographs, drawings, trophies, etc.) or allow us to endure (cookers, freezers, computers, etc.). Do you treat your home as well as you should?
Not only should you value your home enough to protect it through installing high-quality locks, but you should also prepare for the worst-case scenario by insuring your home (contents insurance is the most important policy to get, but you can look into others). Whatever else you might want to spend that money on isn’t going to be as vital.
The importance of that lived-in feeling
People can treat their homes like sterile showrooms, trying to make them look like the pristine interiors they’ve seen in brochures, and that can work well enough when you’re not home enough to really experience it. Think about high-powered professionals who spend their time jetting around the world: for them, what matters is keeping up appearances, and having houses that look impressive to their fellow high-flyers.
Some time in their homes will make one thing clear: that a house needs something extra to be a home. It needs to be lived-in. Used. Built for comfort as well as aesthetic appeal. Keeping things tidy is great, but not when it gets to the point of making it seem that no one actually lives there: there should be photos on the wall, idiosyncratic design elements, things that show personality.
Whether you’re that kind of professional with a house out of a brochure, or a regular homeowner with a lived-in home that can make you feel self-conscious, you might find your perception of your property changing as this lockdown drags on. If you’re the former, you might discover that your gorgeous house is uncomfortable to spend time in — and if you’re the latter, you might realise that your home, while no visual masterpiece, is just perfect for you.
Your home as a working environment
If you’ve been fortunate enough to keep your job while so many companies have folded, you’ve presumably moved to working from home, and embracing remote working can radically change someone’s perception of their home. A place that you’ve always viewed as a haven of relaxation suddenly has to do more than keep you comfortable: it has to help you be productive.
It’s a very different challenge, but if the ingredients are there — and if you manage to handle the transition well — then you can be left with a new appreciation of your home. All of a sudden it’s a dual-purpose area: it’s your home, and it’s your office. It’s like discovering that your employee has more skills than you thought and can do more for your company when needed.
So what are the ingredients to which I referred? Well, your home needs decent soundproofing to keep distractions to a minimum, appropriately-positioned windows (or excellent artificial lighting) to keep the lighting even, and good heat retention plus decent air flow to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. It also needs the space for a decent desk and computer setup.
Gaining perspective in trying times
Lastly, we have to factor in how this pandemic is shifting our perspectives, because we simply can’t view the world as we normally would — not when we know how many people have died and how many more are struggling to get by due to the repercussions. Back in February, many of us might have been jealous of those with bigger homes, but it’s hard to think that way now.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have a secure place to call my own: a place that makes this indefinite isolation so much more bearable for me than it is for many others. I’m not fixating on what I don’t have. The thing is that homeowners are always aware that they’re relatively lucky, but there’s a difference between knowing it and feeling it. Right now, we’re all feeling it.
Will it last? No, inevitably not. When this does pass, however long it takes us to get there, we’ll all steadily fall back into complacency and a lack of gratitude. But that doesn’t matter at this precise moment. This is a time for being thankful for the shelter we have, positive about the future, and determined to look out for the people around us.
Guest post by Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics you care about. You’ll find articles about lifestyle, travel, fashion, trends and relationships on our site – each of which is written in our unique style.
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