In my old house, I strove for perfection. My ex and I were constantly laying tile, painting walls, building furniture, and then repainting walls. We looked for furniture, dishware, and accessories that would give a Pottery Barn look on a Target budget. I once spent over 30 hours looking for just the right throw pillows for the couch after we repainted the living room. We both had a similar level of neatness, so the carefully selected objects in the carefully crafted house were not obscured by clutter. Perfection always seemed attainable, although slightly out of reach.
In my new home, perfection is laughable. My boyfriend’s talents do not extend to homemaking; in fact, as far as the house is concerned, I feel like I live with a scattered 16 year old boy. Our furnishings are a compilation of his twenty years of bachelorhood and my on-a-very-tight-budget IKEA run to furnish the apartment I was in for year 2 of my new life. The cupboards are filled with an odd assortment of dishes and glasses, many of them chipped from being carelessly loaded into the dishwasher. The couch, a remnant of bachelorhood, is stained from spilled drinks and muddy paws. It is topped with throw pillows that don’t match much of anything. Even the house itself is a rental, so we have done the bare minimum to improve its aesthetics.
Sometimes, when I visit other people’s homes and I see their perfect serving dishes and their matched accessories, I feel inadequate. I think about hitting the stores and upgrading some of our things. But then I realize that I don’t want to travel that road again. I don’t want to feel the pressure to create a perfect home. In my old life, I took pride in my surroundings, yet I was also a slave to them. I like living in a home where I do not have to be worried about a spill on the rug or a chip in the wood. I like not being owned by my home.
So, if you ever make it over for dinner, I can promise you a mean Mexican lasagna on a chipped IKEA plate, plenty of wine (although it may not be served in a wine glass), and lots of laughter and good company (oh, and pit bull kisses too). That’s my idea of perfection.