Renovation

I’ve witnessed an uptick in home renovations over the past several weeks. Home Depot is busier than ever, dumpsters fill area driveways and signs advertising handymen are planted amongst the flowers in many of the yards. As I walk and run the neighborhood streets, I keep track of these remodeling jobs. I take note of what is changing, from landscaping to paint to flooring to whole new kitchens.¬†I celebrate when the signs of work dissipate and I envision the family enjoying their new or refurbished spaces.

But all too often, those signs of remodeling are followed quickly by a “For Sale” sign, the upgrades completed only to say good-bye. I get the freshening up of a new coat of paint before putting a house on the market. I understand that it’s easier to lay new flooring when the current furnishings are already disassembled and in boxes. But some of these remodels speak of dreams long held by the owners – additions that improve the house, adding decks or patios to enjoy the outdoors or updating a kitchen or bath that was dated when the house was purchased.

And that makes me sad. The thought of those improvements being put off until it is too late. The thought of the family settling over time and allowing the dreams for the space to fade. The thought that they didn’t make creating the best home for them a priority while they there.

Perhaps it makes me sad because it parallels what I so often see in marriages. The diet and exercise programs only undertaken after the papers are signed. The commitment to becoming more patient or more compassionate only embraced after the marriage is dissolved. Or, in my own case, the tendency to work too much only mitigated after the end of the marriage.

Just like you adapt to your surroundings in a home, you adapt to your marriage over time. You may have great goals and intentions for yourself and your life, but then they fade into the backdrop of daily noise. And so you let it go.

Until it’s time to put yourself back on the market. And then out come the remodeling tools.

But you don’t have to wait to create the change you want. Dream it. Then do it.

But you don’t have to wait to add that deck until you’re placing your house on the market. And you don’t have to wait to better yourself until you’re back on the market. Making the changes earlier only increases¬†the return on your investment. Even if you do have to move.

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2 responses to “Renovation

  1. I have felt the same sadness watching people “fix up” their homes for sale, spending money to lure new buyers by doing things they dreamed of but wouldn’t spend the money on to please themselves. And many, many years ago (when I still thought our marriage was doing well) my husband’s response to the 20 pounds I had lost was, “What are you doing? Getting ready to leave me?”

    I think sometimes the burdens — of the house or the marriage — get so heavy that we become paralyzed, and only an impending move or life upheaval breaks that paralysis and allows us to move forward.

  2. I like your perspective of the renovations. Sometimes in marriage it is difficult to ascertain whether the house is untidy or whether there is actually a crack in the foundations. Scurrying about tidying the house doesn’t fix the foundations. However, neither does it make for a happy life to always have an untidy house!
    We need to lay down the correct foundations right in the beginning and we need to tidy the house every single day.
    Then, once in a while, we need to renovate.
    Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

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