To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution. — Samuel Johnson
Every year, a friend of mine sets an intention for her year, usually by focusing on an abstract word. This typically does not appeal to me. I’m more of a concrete goal-setter than an intention-setter. Intentions feel very wishy-washy.This year, though, I realized that there was a common theme among all of my goals, so I thought it might make sense to try this whole intention thing out.
I declare 2017 my year of “home.”
When we bought our home, we intended to live here indefinitely. The idea was that we would buy exactly the amount of modest home that we needed, then live in it forever. We knew that by keeping the scale and price of our house small, we were giving ourselves a huge leg up on building wealth. When our realtor said that, historically, people move in 5-6 years, we scoffed at her. We were not those people.
Yet, nary two years later, I find myself battling discontent with our house. This is not unhappiness with the physical space itself. I still feel that we purchased the best home for us for the amount we were willing to spend. The problem is HGTV and its constant presentation of newly remodeled homes, and seeing a few too many friends’ houses with price tags that are double or triple ours.
I want to vanquish discontent, not only because moving is unrealistic, but also because I want to enjoy the home I have just as I did when we bought it. I intend to go about this several ways:
Get the PMI Removed
As I mentioned in our 2017 Financial Goals post, getting the PMI off of our house is our big money goal for the year. We are not gung-ho about paying off our mortgage early. We have seen the math, and we know that we are better off investing our extra funds than paying down the mortgage. Nonetheless, PMI is costing us $600 per year for the “privilege” of borrowing money. We would like to be able to invest that $600 instead.
A main source of discontent with our home is our inability to keep it neat. This comes from having too much stuff and no system to keep it neat. Since January, I’ve been using a loose version of the KonMari method to get rid of several boxes of items and reorganize what we have. We have also been working on a rotational system whereby to keep our home clean. If everything has a place where it “lives,” that’s a start, but neither Mr. Steward nor I are very good about putting things back into those places. We have to intentionally tidy as well.
I expect this will save us money. Not only will we not be tempted by crazy big things (like a different house!), I hope it will allow greater insight into what smaller purchases truly add value to our lives, and which don’t.
Decorate Our Home
We also need to finally decorate our home. Since we moved in two years ago, I have hung exactly one piece of art. I think the lack of beauty in our home is another cause of my discontent. We need to hang our art and make aesthetic changes to really get our home feeling like it is uniquely and beautifully ours.
I expect a small outlay of cash on beautifying projects, such as photo frames and a fire pit. My goal, however, is to re-purpose items and spend as little as possible.
Engage in Hospitality
One of my first posts was on how having people over is pretty much the cheapest form of entertainment. Full disclosure: we have been pretty horrible about this lately. Because of the aforementioned inability to keep our home generally tidy, we have not been very good about having others over. I would like to renew my focus on having lovely people over for food and games. Enjoying fun times with good people in a space is a rapid path toward associating that space with happiness.
Why “Home,” not “Hustle”?
Some of you may wonder why I would choose for this to be the year of “home,” rather than “hustle.” I did just confess that I make $34,000 a year, and that I don’t love that fact. The answer is that the plan to fix my salary is already in motion, but will simply take time. My boss loves my work. The problem is that there are federal regulations that require that I have a minimum of one year experience in our type of business before many positions are open to me. My boss has told me that it’s effectively just a season of biding my time, but I am preparing accomplishments in the meantime. I could start a side hustle, but I would rather focus on my two-year-old while she is little.
I consider this year of establishing and organizing our home preparation for future years of hustle. As Samuel Johnson points out, ultimately all that any of us are working for is to have a happy home, whether literally or figuratively. I hope to spend this year creating a happiness launchpad for our future.
Did you set an intention for this year? Do you find intentions useful?