kathy77September 10, 2012

I love my house, I'm happy with my house. It's a modest 3BR, 980 sq ft ranch. No vestibule, no family room (yeah, I do use my LR, lol), one bath. I recently went thru several changes, retired, divorced, and remodeling. Got new walls, fresh paint, refinished floors, new furniture, newly remodeled bathroom, real tile, deep tub, new furnace and central air. So I love it even more.

Today I visited a home that made me feel very envious. A lovely craftsman bungalow, well decorated, with decorative accents I love. She has LR, DR, Kit, breakfast nook, family room, deck, porch swing, rain barrel, garden, stone path through shady corner of yard, second story deck over the flat roof garage. Stained glass windows. Not only do I love the house, it makes me think "What went wrong in my life?" I know I'm overreacting. Does anyone else go thru this?

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What did go wrong with your life?

You "love your house" you are "happy with your house" and you "love it even more".

Sounds like life is pretty good, yes?

I think maybe you are not happy about something else? And who doesn't have something to be unhappy about --- that's normal.

"do not compare yourselves with others or you will become vain and bitter, for always there will be better and lesser persons than yourself" (I may be off a word or two, but when I was a teen I had a Desiderata poster and I never forgot that sentiment.

As part of the animal kingdom, it is almost instinctual to compare yourself and figure out the pecking order. But that becomes a hamster wheel. The saying is true. And so you have to learn to curb the tendency and ask yourself what really matters.

You have gone through a lot of stressful changes --- retirement, remodel, divorce. Be gentle with yourself and figure out what is making you suddenly care so much about someone else's breakfast nook... I've a hunch it has nothing to do with decor.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Kathy, at least you know you are overreacting! Your home sounds like exactly what I dream of having in those times when I wish I had my very own place (which is often actually). Not to say that a bungalow wouldn't be great...

So here is my sort of tongue in cheek, sort of serious response: get yourself a rain barrel. Make a stepping stone path going from the front to the back or from the back door to the bird bath (which every yard needs just for the fun of watching the birds splash-that can't help but make you smile). You have had lots of changes and life is what it is, which is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It is okay to be envious. It is okay to cry because you feel like doing so. It is okay look around your house and say, "I love this, too.". It is okay to go to open houses and dream and plan. I dream things that will most likely never happen (like a move to France, but I still allow myself to have fun looking at properties and dreaming!) and that is a good thing.

Oh, and I live in a ranch which we chose precisely because it was a ranch and we were thinking ahead to when stairs would not work for us. Perfect! Haven't reached that point quite yet, but could come sooner than later.

Small steps...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Kathy, I think many of us have been there at one time or another~LIFE HAPPES, and it's not always 'good stuff'. Remember, it ain't over 'till the fat lady sings! Try to be more optimistic inspite of the lemons you *think* you've been handed. I know it's hard sometimes, but thinking negative and miserable can be turned into positive and happy~it's a state of mind, sort of like getting older is. I'll be 70 on the 14th of this month, but feel more like 45. Heck, what is 70 supposed to feel like? So happiness could also be a state of mind. It's not about having things, or money, but a close family and friends helps quite a lot!

I don't know if you're a religious person, but I'm reading a book by Joel Olsteen, Every Day is a Friday. It's positive and uplifting, but he is a minister so there's a lot of 'God Speak' goin on, but that's ok since I'm a strong believer.

And stop comparing someone else's house to yours~you can make it a cute little cottage w/o spending big bucks if you know *where* to shop. A beautiful house does not make the people who live in it happy, no matter what you may think! That will only come from the inside.

Anyway, decide to put your ' happy hat' on tomorrow and see if wearing it, makes you feel better. Pep talk over! ;o)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I, too, love our modest home and have been so thankful to be able to update, but doesn't stop me from drooling over those super modern homes with one white sofa looking out over a fabulous view. Of course, I would be sleek and young and rich.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Does anyone else ever go through this? Of course! We all experience variations of this at different points in our lives, hopefully less and less as we move through life.

Kathy are you allowing yourself a chance to grieve for your losses? You may have happily retired, but chances are there are things about your work or co-workers that you miss having on a daily basis. And divorce, no matter who instigated or how you feel about no longer being married, there is sadness at the loss of a dream or expectation of how things would be.

I also noticed that you said you visited a house, not visited a friend. May be nothing but it struck me as a bit odd. Are you lonely? Is there something nurturing or fulfilling in your days that replaces some of the time you used to spend at work (besides the remodeling) like gardening or volunteering or meeting with a book group?

It sounds as if you know you have a lot to be grateful for in your life and seem to be happy overall with your nest, so perhaps this is just a momentary slip in your attitude. If that's the case, shake it off consciously. Remind yourself of what you love about your home, affirm that you have created a happy, nurturing harbor for yourself and that someone else's good fortune does not diminish your own.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Yeah, I have gone through that.

In recent years I have taught myself that I can totally enjoy the moment when I am experiencing something of beauty or of ingenious creativity. I spend time taking it in, absorbing its essence. I admire it. Then I tell myself how pleasurable it was to experience it and that I do not need to take it home with me in order to enjoy its beauty. I am not one to take photos. Photos interfere with the "be here now" quality that I am striving for in these experiences. Having experienced something that is beyond my means, or that is impractical to own, or that I just don't NEED, has value all in itself. I learn something from the interaction, have a moment of awe or a quick laugh of delight.

I tell myself that I do not need to own something in order to experience it or appreciate it. It is in my memory now, and in that way, I do "own" it. I can call up that memory anytime. Sometimes I can go "visit" that thing of beauty again. In a way, a visit is more special than having it at home with me where I will become accustomed to it and it will no longer startle me with its beauty.

Maybe this Craftsman house was your inner picture of "Family home," and during this time of change, your emotions were overwhelmed with the loss of your marriage. With retirement, you may find that you don't have the budget for shopping for the little touches that she had in her home that made it feel so cozy. Plus, a big family home like that may have just slapped you up side the head and said to you, "your family-making years are over. Look at the family I am housing here! Don't you wish you had it all to do all over again?" Those Craftsmen can be so insensitive and proud of their nooks and crannies. They especially like to toy with owners of plain-jane ranch homes that are all so similar that the guests don't even need to ask you where the washroom is! Save up for a stained glass window hanging for a room in your house. Show that stuffy craftsman that she is not the end-all and be-all of houses!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Wow, this should be called Home Decor, Philosophy and Therapy Forum! Great insight and advice given here!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 10:32PM
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There will always be someone with a nicer house, with nicer stuff. Your house is YOURS - you made it the way it is, you have loved through all those changes.

It may sound trite but "Home is where the heart is".

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:03PM
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When my husband started his consulting practice, he put two pictures up in his office.

One was a photo of a theatrical agent in Los Angeles who went to work for a big entertainment conglomerate, failed miserably at the job, and was sent packing with a bye-bye bonus of $30 million. That was to remind him that life is not always a meritocracy.

The second was an arial shot of the yacht basin in Monte Carlo. Every slip was occupied by a big, glorious, sleek, elegant, fully-staffed private yacht. Then there was one owned by a Greek shipping magnate that was practically a cruise ship, dwarfing all those other lovely things. That was to remind him that some kinds of competition are a game you can never win.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:02AM
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Very timely question for a lot of reasons, for me. All I wish is that I could pick up my modest house and put it on a different lot.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:37AM
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There is a reason for 10 commandments and not just 9 :)

Don't let the "envy" take away from the beauty of what you experienced.

I could go on and on about how your life
is to be envied.
Saying that there are many with less really never comforts anyone.

I often wish I could do it over..
Turn left instead of right..
Choose this instead of that..
My life most surly would be better..

I'm a good person..
I deserve what they have..

Why ????

Then I take my dog for a walk.............

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:07AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Nothing went wrong with your life. Your life is unfolding exactly as it should. If it wasn't it'd be different, as the universe is perfect as it is. If it wasn't, it'd be different. No one gets out of this life without experiencing pain, loss and suffering. It is part of how we learn what we need to in this life, difficult though it may be.

Don't fall into that trap of defining yourself and your life by material things or the material things of others. Those are nothing we can take with us when we leave the earth. We can only take with us our memories, our choices and the love we've shared. Those are the things that count.

At the heart of it, all negative emotions such as greed and envy and anger are based in fear....our primary fear being that we are unloved and unloveable. But that is not true...that is never true. You are lovable and you are loved.

The best antidote to envy is gratitude. Instead of being envious for what your friend has, be happy for her that she has those things, be grateful that you were able to enjoy the experience of her place with her, and let her know how much you enjoyed it. Use it to draw some inspiration and bring some of those elements you love into your own space. Then remember all the things you have in your own life for which you are grateful. Turn that negative emotion into a positive experience and it will enrichen your life as well as the life of your friend.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:26AM
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Kathy77, I am very strongly attracted by small, adorable houses. There's one in particular on the long drive to our son's old boarding school that made me look forward to the three hour drive each way. We live in a house on the larger end of the spectrum, and I think I feel such a pull towards tiny homes because of what they represent to me.... Downsizing, less responsibility, etc. I have always wanted a small "jewel box" of a house that, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way---- perfect for me, and no one else (DH, kids, dogs, etc). Realistically, I know this is never going to happen.

Lately my eye has caught a beautifully kept 70s brick ranch on about five acres very near our house. It is owned by an old couple I often see out in their yard. I've begun imagining the untouched but pristine interiors and am mentally redoing it for myself.

I guess what I am trying to say is that what we may interpret as envy may really represent the secret wishes of our hearts. It occurs to me that the very design of craftsman houses represents solidity and stability, which would naturally call out to you during a period of change in your own life. The solid and uncomplicated worth of a forty year old ranch is speaking to me now, and if I am honest, I envy the couple who live in that house I pass every day.

Many psychological studies say that the greatest source of happiness is a sense of contentment and safety. From your description of the work you've done you have put your own house in order, and in that respect you have a LOT to be happy about.

Houses are our shelter from the storm. For us here, on this forum, they are obviously that on many more levels than the most obvious. IMO it is perfectly normal for what is going on in your life to be reflected in your feelings about housing. (Of course, we do all realize that the rest of the world thinks we're crazy, right? :-)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Thank you all so much. Such wise and thoughtful responses. No wonder I come back here to read, even when I don't have a particular project in mind.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Change sure does bring up a bunch of stuff doesn't it? As others noted you are ahead of the game - you know what's going on. Don't dwell because then it will be a problem.

I used to feel that way for awhile and while I live in an average sized home w/ a vestibule, stained glass and great woodworking I was still envious of others homes and surroundings. I'd say it was because the interior was fairly disasterous (still is) once the kids came but in actuality I felt that way before the kids when things were always neat, tidy and in their place.

It wasn't until changes in my life made me realize what was important and that many homes that I envied just had different issues (or even the same) as me. I was in one of my deeper (but secret) depressions & it had been yrs. since that happened when many of the wonderful folks here reached out to me. Then my mom was diagnosed w/ lung cancer (more great advice from here) and that really yanked me out!

Funny - now I'm not envious but I appreciate the beauty that others may dwell in.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:44AM
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nancy_in_mich wrote exactly how I feel, where I have learned and achieved (for the most part) the ability to enjoy an experience without owning it. And that includes not taking photos because it interferes with the "be here now" experience.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Envy is a part of everyone's life, in varying degrees - it's what we do with it that matters. We can let it control us and make us bitter, or let it guide us to explore and reveal more about ourselves and appreciate the good things we already have. One of my hobbies is poetry. Here are two that I wrote that seem to put things in perspective for me when things get out of whack.

Daily Living
by Val Ebberson
Life is not a competition
To see who wins the game
The winners aren't the ones that have
The riches and the fame.

Life is but experience
Events which fill each day
Each and every turn we find
Something new along the way.

A friend with whom to share the joy
A goal to be fulfilled
Knowledge gained, being entertained
A new exciting skill.

There are some rules to live by
Such as knowing right from wrong
The joy in life is finding
A special place where we belong.

Like family to be with
Or a job which gives us pleasure
A church, a home, a quiet place to roam
Can be fulfilling beyond measure.

So let your life be filled with bliss
Enjoy each and every day
For life is happening here and now
Start living - don't delay!

Life Changes
by Val Ebberson

New people, new countries
New buildings, new scenery
New experiences, new technology
Life is change
It means fears and frustrations
It means patience, endurance,
participation and excitement
It means acceptance, adaptation and perseverance
Life is a sharing
Of ideas and values
Of plans, hopes and dreams for the future.
Let My Life Change
With new friends, new challenges and new ideas
New growth, new hopes and new dreams
But let not change allow us to forget
Those whose lives have played such an important role
In our country's history and our own lives.
And let not change allow us to forget
The joy in the simple things in life
A young child's hug, a friendly smile
and laughter among friends
And let's not forget the value of human life -
One of God's most valuable creations
For as much as life is change
There are parts we want and need to stay the same
Let us remember
This is our time and our place
In the lifetime of the world
And let us strive to be a positive part
In all of life's changes.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Kswl, I was struck by this thing you said:
".. what we may interpret as envy may really represent the secret wishes of our hearts."

Wonderfully perceptive - I had never thought of it that way. Thank you for putting that idea in front of us.

I was raised in "a Southern family of good lineage and reduced circumstances," an expression I've always giggled over. So I spent many of my childhood Saturdays either in the museum or the library, where I had access to wonderful things that I never even thought about owning. Growing up in Virginia also gave us access to beautiful 18th century houses that were inherited and lived in by our friends, and to many more that had to be open to the public to cover their upkeep.

The pictures and the exquisite things that I could visit any time, and the books I loved and read more than once, became part of my cultural memory, if not part of my household. I wonder now if they were not even more precious because they were shared. It was a deep and abiding lesson, although I didn't realize it at the time, and freed me from the desire to own everything that attracted me.

It's part of why I worry about the private acquisition of works of art, in which they disappear into private collections where no one else will ever see them...but I digress.

It would be nice if I were entirely free of that well of desire and the potential for envy - I'm not - but at least my family gave me an alternative view of the world with which to combat the pressures of a consumer economy. I see that resistance in my own children, who were raised in a similar way, and it is very satisfying.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:33AM
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I completely understand. I too went through a divorce, downsized, then remarried a number of years ago. I went from living in a brand new custom to living in a 1940 fixer-upper. It was my choice to buy an older home, but I can't deny that occasionally it bothers me that so much remains undone and in need of repair/refurbishment. I simply can't afford to tackle everything that I would like to do at this point, so I live with a number of things undone. I have a fondness for Craftsman style, and if I were to visit the home that you described, I know that I too would feel a stab of envy. I have to remind myself that what appears perfect from the outside looking in is rarely so. We all have our imperfections - even in our homes - and I try to then focus on the good aspects of my little old house -- the characteristics that give it, well, character and charm. After awhile, those burning flames of envy die down considerably ... but I do think it's just human nature to see something that appears to be so perfect, and wish that we were experiencing the illusion we are seeing.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:34AM
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Lately my personal mantra has been that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence because it's full of bullship.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Pesky, LOL!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I understand the emotion all too well although over the years I have learned how to deal with it and recognize what triggers it. It often comes when areas of my life are highly stressed and unhappy. I think it's important to realize that some people do have more than what you have: nicer houses, happier families, better relationships, more money, things, contentment, looks, talents, etc.
I do know several families that seem to have it all and really do, it's not just an illusion.
Bitterness can creep in so can self pity. When one couple I know; and they are all beautiful, talented, rich, and happy and have the best of values and to top it off are super nice, had a miscarriage with their fourth child, I found myself quite lacking sympathy although they were really grieving. I had to fix myself and deal with my issues.

But the big questions is, are those the things that really satisfy the soul? I think we were made for so much more than external things and that, does help me deal with those feelings.

And sometimes I feel wildly contented when I have a great book to read and something delicious to eat!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Bronwyn's mom--- I love the idea of not needing to own everything that attracts me, and find that need (want?) diminishes each year of my life. The idea of experiencing things without owning them is the very embodiment of freedom from all those wants. This thread is a good reminder to me of all these things...

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I used to get house-envy. But then I decided that I don't have mortgage envy.

My friend has a terrific house, my dream house. But my house has 4 more years on the mortgage, and hers has 18. I can retire debt-free, and she has to wait.

Love her house, though! Almost as much as I love her.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 6:04PM
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"I used to get house envy, but then I decided I don't have mortgage envy."
I like that statement a lot.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Or higher tax and utility bill envy!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:59PM
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Kathy, I definitely want you to stay on this forum but I'm posting a link to another forum for smaller houses.

Before we added on, my house was on the smallish side. I was always envious of those whose homes were larger. There were times I'd even get angry..when I was home alone. lol.

I worked really hard on keeping the interior nice...not just clean, but it was the furniture I picked out, the accessories and colors I used. Inexpensive things. Plus antiques (nothing major) I inherited or bought at garage sales.

One day we had company over who had never been to my home before. They all said, "Your house is so cozy!" I knew right then that size doesn't matter. :)

There are many here who don't have large homes but it's what they did inside which makes their home's just gorgeous!

Welcome to the board and your feelings are completely normal! I'm going through a major envy thing right now but it doesn't have to do with houses. Which is another topic. lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Small house forum

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Bronwyn's mom... I was raised in "a Southern family of good lineage and reduced circumstances," This made me laugh because of my Southern family it is said we are "gentility gone to seed"
Kathy, I too think you are just reacting to what has happened to you. You've been through a lot of BIG life changes. I think I would be envious of your home if I saw it.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:12AM
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A couple of weeks ago, Apartment Therapy posted 10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home. I've copied them below. Because they are simple and make sense to me, I am trying to incorporate them into my everyday life.

1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to "ready." I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul's clever book, It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys. It's a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to "ready" before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, "What was the best part of today?") Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can't get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting "Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!" and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says ""Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it." Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, "Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!" Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today." But it should not be another "to do" item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That's right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It's YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night - something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don't forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

  1. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs - or non-beliefs - may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book; are you feeling better yet?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Apartment Therapy 10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Oh my gosh, the wonderful words of wisdom that are coming from this post. Yes, I have been there, done that. Right now I am building a new house...not so much of "choice" but circumstances. I also envy looking at posts of beautiful kitchens and homes being built that are far beyond my modest budget. Mine will be nothing that I will probably post on these forums, but something that I can afford and there will be joy in the knowing that it is mine and paid for.

Yes, I have had that huge house with all of the bells and whistles, then my dear husband passed away, leaving me alone in that house that was
so lonely that I could not endure the aloneness of the space in a city far away from my family and friends. I sold that house for a lot less than it was valued for, and moved "back home" . So will I be happy in my new space? I certainly pray so...but the envy of happy older couples celebrating their 50th anniversaries, still sends pangs through my heart.

So thank you for all of the advice that has been given to the original poster because more than she is getting fed wiseness from others.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Wow-- yes . . .I VERY often, especially lately, have been wondering where I've gone wrong with my life. I feel like every decision I've made is wrong, and even when I try so very, very, very hard to get it right the next time . . .I'm still wrong.

We are closing on a new house (tomorrow) and I'm excited. But guess what I have? SCHOOL ENVY. My kids have to go to a new school due to the move, and I hate it. Hate. I am trying to make peace with it, but I am struggling. I can't sleep because of it!

My envy turns into blame (I blame myself), though. Does yours?

My daughter and I have been reading Peace Is Every Step. It helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peace Is Every Step

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Oh, I get that. I spent years of my early adult years envying other's homes and trying to keep up with the 'Jones'. I'm now 52, much, much happier with myself and my circumstances. I can now really appreciate and enjoy a gorgeous home that I visit, yet know that I will never attain. We are middle class, have been blessed in so many ways. We have a very nice, very middle class home. We do upgrades as we can afford them. As a matter of fact, we just had new carpet installed today in our MB. I am overjoyed right now. It's gorgeous and new and I couldn't be happier. Our old carpet was 15 and really used! We are slowly, on our budget, upgrading. We have cut corners, but I so love my very middle class home and what we are doing with it.Sometimes things aren't as they appear. I recently went to a shower at a co-workers home. Her and her hubby are in the same line of business as me and my DH. I was blown away by their home. It is drop dead gorgeous! Much, much, much nicer than my humble abode. I was not envious, I was just stumped. Long story short, told hubby about Sue's home, hubby goes to work, mentions how gorgeous Sue's home is to co- worker, co-worker says "Yah, her home is reeeeally nice, and they reeeeeally can't afford it. They are so house poor they might lose it". Really, how fun is that? Not. I'll take my comfy, diy on a budget, almost paid off home anyday. Also, my feelings, if you have a nice roof over your head, can pay for it, and sleep well, count your blessing. No matter how rich, someone will always have bigger, better, nicer, more expensive than you.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 2:12AM
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I think you need a good dose of Mrs. Pollifax. She, too, is/was a lady of about our age who was feeling unsettled, so she decided to do something about it. Escapism is just the thing upon occasion.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (Amazon)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 3:31AM
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This thread is a keeper. :)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 4:46AM
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Mrs. Pollifax! I've read them all and loved each one.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:05AM
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This is going to seem Like a WAY out there thing to say , but, having just experienced this, it is REALLY how I feel, SO,

It is possible that the energy, or something, is just not right for you in that house.

A year and a half ago, I would have squashed that crazy thought like a bug!!! Until we came here, a thousand miles away from every place I have ever lived.

The other house was on a gorgeous 70 acres, decent but needed work, but it was NOT right. I lived there for almost 9 years, and I had fallen into a slump that I did not even recognize until I left. It is just the energy of the house. It must be similar to what people feel in Prescott AZ.

Everyone else, I Have really enjoyed and learned from your insights.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:39AM
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What an amazing thread:) I wish I could repost for all to read but expect only GW folks would understand the kinship shared here. I live in an amazing neighborhood in southern Cali and we are so grateful for our weather and safe neighborhoods that we often sacrifice space. Occasionally I will visit a home of much better circumstances than me- view of the ocean, large backyard, or just a large kitchen that isn't a long, narrow galley. Oh that is tough! Envy for sure:) but then I hug my son or daughter and think of my sister who longs for a husband and children and think, wow, Thank God. I have a home, a family and a wonderful community to live in each day. Sometimes it takes me a bit of time to get there however:) I am only human after all.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:34AM
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I spent most of my adult life (divorced) content with my 1200 sf ranch condo, and grateful that I had a job, good health, and children without learning disabilities. When I remarried many years later, we built a house that I designed, and is much nicer than anything I'd ever imagined living in. While designing the house and preparing to build, a period of several years, I went through hundreds of houses in home tours, and lots of gorgeous neighborhoods (looking at brick). Very often, I thought, "Where did I go wrong? Why do these people have all of this and I've barely gotten by at times?"

I'd remind myself that I chose to be a teacher, knowing that I'd never have a lot of money, I chose to divorce my husband when he hit me and have never regretted it, etc., etc. I truly was content prior to planning the new house.

I'd wanted to have a modernized craftsman styled house. I had a sketch and plan of one of the original craftsman homes from the early 1900s as my inspiration. I finally decided that the source of my discontent was that I loved the feel of the craftsman--the beautiful wood and tile, the comfort and livability of it, the window style, the dormers and gables. We didn't want to put the money into all of the wood or windows, we decided the craftsman tile might be difficult when it comes to resale in this neighborhood, and the overall vision got compromised as my husband and I tried to agree on the many features of the house (although he also loves craftsman).

Bottom line is that I don't think I would have been as discontented if I hadn't put so much thought into planning the new house. I still go back and tweak things here and there, and it's coming together, but it still doesn't have the "feel" that I'd expected. I'm hoping that a better paint color in a couple of rooms will help, and I'm still working on the window coverings, accent pillows for the LR, and getting pictures on the walls. I have more money to decorate with now than I ever did before, but that doesn't solve the problem. I also think, "I've spent how many years of my life designing, building, and decorating this house??? I should be doing something more useful!"

However, as much as I love many of the things I designed into our plan, the one that gives me the "feel" that I wanted is the front porch and the garden it overlooks. So I'm wondering if there's one room, or one feature that you could focus on changing to give you some of what you felt when you visited your friend?

Everyone's comments above are excellent, but just thought I'd throw this out in case it has any relevance.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:01AM
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I was hesitant to post my original message, but now glad I did. THANK YOU ALL, SO MUCH. I needed perspective and I got it.

Had a dream 2 nights ago. Owned a big older home, there were no craftsman features, but it did have a large screened in porch. An old friend came by and as I was showing her around, the house morphed into a boat, a very large boat, LOL. No idea where that came from, I've never owned a boat, not even a rowboat. I must have been waking up because I started thinking about maintenance, and how I know nothing about boat maintenance.

Yesterday I found a CD I like at an estate sale for $2.00. Then went to a street fair and found a pretty glass bowl, for $18.00.

So a few days later, and $20.00 spent, I feel a lot better. Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:49AM
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