Wednesday, July 20, 2016

broken windows



I'm a runner.

Not the lace-my-shoes-up-and-hit-the-pavement kind (though I wish I was), but more the when-the-going-gets-tough-I-want-out kind.  In reality, I can only pinpoint a few instances in my life that I actually physically walked (or ran!) away from something.  That time I quit track in high school, transferring universities (which in hindsight was one of the best decisions I ever made), and leaving a summer long dance festival under the guise of a hip injury when reality was probably that I felt out of place, homesick, and not quite good enough.

Most people who know me will probably say that I'm a really strong person, that I don't give up easily and work hard for everything that I have.  The adjective that I've heard the most about myself is intentional.  I agree whole-heartedly.  But sometimes while I am externally intense and somewhat convincing, internally, I'm running.  I'm restless and mentally planning, plotting, and arranging my escape from the difficult.  

This has been a restless year for me.  We added a new baby who had feeding issues, sleeping issues, and massive acid reflux, when simply "we added a new baby" is enough to rock the boat.  We've walked through the toughest transition we could have imagined to a family of five with our middle son, which I wrote about here.  I journeyed through the physical difficulties related to pregnancy and Pippa's birth.  Struggled through postpartum depression (which deserves it's own blog post soon).  Several close friends moved away.  We renovated our kitchen, which I'm so glad we did, but the process and subsequent upheaval of pretty much all of our house as well was pretty brutal.

Here's the thing, though.  These are all things I couldn't quit.  I couldn't walk away from any of this.  I couldn't physically run, so I mentally run.

Lately, I've been running to Redfin.  Redfin?  Yes, Redfin...the real estate app.  The turmoil of this year has left our home in shambles.  While I'm thankful for our home, it's messy and disorganized and seemingly bursting at the seams holding our whole family and all our junk.   As a highly sensitive person deeply affected by my environment, my home currently feels like a place I want to escape.  I'm paralyzed by the work that needs to be done, the upkeep, the kid's messes. I long for a quieter, slower pace of life, outside of the city with a big yard for kids to play and some space for my introverted spirit to be alone sometimes.   So, while I want to make things better, I put on my blinders, brace myself for another day, and dream of leaving it all behind for a 4 bedroom modern farmhouse with lots of natural light on two acres.

And maybe I will live there one day, but if we move, I want it to be that I'm running towards something good, not running away from something I can't handle.  We have many discussions about where and how we should live, without any real decisions or resolutions at this point.  This restlessness...it is not a positive directive or prompting from God.  It's fear and it's disorder and it's disruptive.  

My poor husband has to process through all of this with me.  He's a good man.  A level head when I'm often a pogo stick.  As we processed through whether or not to purchase a piece of land outside of the city, in a moment of brilliance he basically said, "I don't think we should do this.  We take our dysfunction with us.  Moving to a new place doesn't solve our problems, doesn't clean the messes, or create the systems that we so desperately need to put into place."  I told you, a good man.

We agreed to adopt the Broken Windows Theory for our home.  This theory was first introduced in a 1982 article by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, and later increased in popularity in the 90's when it was adopted by Mayor Rudy Guiliani and the New York Police Department to combat crime.  Basically, the premise is that if a building has a few broken windows, the tendency will be for vandals to break a few more.  Broken windows become the norm, a signifier welcoming more vandalism and eventually leading to more neighborhood crime.  Or if litter accumulates on the pavement and no one cleans it up, soon, more litter accumulates and it becomes a dumping ground.

I know it's a stretch to liken our home to a crime ridden neighborhood, but the fact of the matter is that in a lot of ways we've given up.  We've allowed one broken window to become three and a broken furnace and unfinished projects and piles of mess in our basement and a garage full of junk.  We are the vandals in our own home.  The community that no longer takes pride in their surroundings or who feel that it's beyond them to make things better.

So, last week, I scheduled a guy to fix our heat.  Novel idea.  And when I couldn't get our new thermostat wired properly because our furnace is ancient, I called him again for help.  I set up a system for dealing with the piles of artwork and school papers for the kids.  I took a day and folded ALL the laundry.  We have plans to make a list of things to do to fix all of the figurative broken windows, and then actually do them.  To make our home work for us.

We've lived in this house 4 years, and I've yet to hang pictures on the walls.  In a lot of ways, it still feels like a house.  We haven't made it home.  We haven't made it work for us. That's our goal right now.

Who knows?  Maybe after all that we will still say it's not working.  Maybe I will still want to move.  But it won't be because I'm running away.




No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips