We have a little home, on a hill, near the sea. It’s our home, it smells like salty air and is filled with love and a lot of laughter. It is not grand in size, and there is no laundry sink, the bath tap sometimes fall off, and I recently fixed a fly screen using bathroom tile glue. But it is ours, it is beautiful, and we love it.
Yesterday was my birthday and I turned thirty. I spent half of the day painting our home downpipes. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t a chore, but it was wonderful, because I don’t take for granted that it is a privilege to own a home, and to be free to do to it what we want. My husband has literally been planning my birthday party since March last year, so I had nothing to worry about or to do for that. So after we went out for breakfast, and while the kids played, I painted the down pipes and it was its own kind of glorious – because they are our downpipes, and this is our home. The thing with being a millennial is, I’ve spent forever as a poor University student, accumulated a solid amount of HECS debt, and have been paying ridiculously high rent for a long time. At some point you think you may never actually get to own your own home, so to finally be here, earlier than we anticipated, I guess it just makes me happy to the point that I’ll paint downpipes in the hot afternoon sun with a big, dumb grin on my face.
As we grow into our home, the house itself is shaped by us and the people we share life with. It is a soft place to land for our children, it is being built up and adapted by us, it bears the markings that our family do life here. From the fresh concrete poured by my Dad, my Husband, and a family friend I’ve known my whole life, to the plants that hang from the verandah, gifted to us over the years, all the way to the wild mint that grows in the veggie patch which I assume was planted by the previous owners. The home grows with us. I love this shaping and love that’s poured into our home, just as it’s poured in to our lives.
I always dreamed that by the time I was thirty, I would know myself, I remember as a youth really believing and observing that women in their thirties always seemed so empowered, like they knew themselves. They have less f*#ks to give, and I liked that. Reflecting on my own growth I do feel like I know more about myself than ever, but I think perhaps more importantly, or perhaps key to the self knowing, is I now also know my community and family on a deeper level. As I have grown, so has my understanding of these people who love us and shape in various ways our experience. I know what I like, I know who ‘my people’ are and I flipping love that. I’m really honoured And uplifted by the incredible people who choose to spend their time, and share their talents with me.
Last night we had many of our nearest and dearest come to our home to eat and drink and celebrate with us, and it was such a pleasure to look around and see these people; a group which was small but varied and included people like my old teachers from primary school, my friends from yoga, family friends I have known from birth, my parent’s best friends of over forty years, collectively it is a whole group which is filled with love and generosity. They have all invested and sewn seeds in to my life, they saw me for who I was and all that I am, even when I was a talkative seven year old talking through school choir/dance. And they’re still here, and now they’re also investing and sharing in to my own children’s lives.
A few hours in to the party, as the music and little crowd was getting louder, a neighbour appeared at our front gate…carrying a stack of chairs. They had seen we were having a party, so had brought over chairs for our guests. They didn’t want to stay, they just wanted to offer us the extra chairs. I could have cried (it wasn’t the wine) because It was the kind of moment that just fills your heart up, it’s an act of generous kindness, where the giver expects nothing in return. What even is that?! Where someone else’s experience might be being told by neighbours to turn the music down, ours is being gifted chairs for the evening. I am so grateful for all of these wonderful people. There is a lot of bad in the world, but there is also a lot of good which can go unnoticed, or unappreciated. I don’t to miss or under appreciate what and where my life is. I don’t want to fear or begrudge ageing.
I refuse to mourn or fear ageing, it is a privilege denied to many, and thirty is so incredibly young still. We dismiss and diminish the beauty that is ageing far too much in our society, I suspect it’s based on commercialized nonsense, the selling of an anti ageing image in order to sell to us as we age. I’m not having it. So I’m embracing my thirties, and loving that I see here in our home community, we are also surrounded by the same kind of generosity and kindness which we have found in our social circles – it’s actually got me wondering if there is a habitus type link here, if it’s due to the way we (my partner and I) engage with people, or are there accumulative decisions including choice of suburb when buying a home which impacts these things – or if it’s sheer luck. Whatever it is, I am damn grateful and appreciative of what my three decades circling the sun has brought me, and I’m very excited about my thirties!