39 Lessons - Lesson 4... The soul of a house...

39 Lessons - Lesson 4... The soul of a house...

Houses have souls

This is one that I have thought for a long time, and as time has gone by I have become more and more convinced that there is life in inanimate objects. For me specifically this is about homes… and shoes! A few years ago, I went on a walk around the Historic Garrison in Bridgetown, and there was an abandoned house just off the beaten path, which was now not livable. The roof was sagging, and there were visible holes there, and a few of the windows were broken and out of the frames. The entire structure of the house looked weathered, and I was surprised to hear that not 6 months previously, someone had inhabited that house. I could not believe that so much deterioration had occurred in such a short space of time. I have heard that houses will begin to fall apart if they are not lived in, but I suppose I was picturing a mild deterioration over a few years or so. But it seems that houses are to be lived in, and to me this house was proof. To see how quickly a home deteriorates without a tenant, made me wonder if it just got lonely and deteriorated from a lack of love and care.

As for shoes – I have had an experience where I wore a pair of shoes that I had not worn for probably about 9 months, and had them fall to pieces as I was walking… Unfortunately I was walking through security at the airport, having deposited my luggage, and was forced to buy a pair of flip flops (slippers) just as I boarded a flight to London, where I arrived early in winter. (I then had to walk through London in these shoes – it was 6 am and nowhere was open!) I can laugh at this now (one of my life lessons is the ability to laugh at myself) but I am reliably informed by a number of friends who live here in Barbados that they have had similar (if less extreme) examples. As an aside – the big lesson here for me was – do not own more shoes than you can wear at any given time – but I digress…

What these experiences taught me was one lesson which was wrapped up in an even larger one. Houses are meant to be lived in, shoes are meant to be worn. Going against what could seem to be conventional wisdom, your shoes and homes will last longer if they are well used than if you do not use them at all. For me the bigger lesson was that life is meant to be lived, and as a caveat to that don’t put things up for a special occasion (especially powdered vanilla!) Things are meant to be used. How many times have we put things up for special occasion, only to find that when we went for them they were no longer useful? I used the example of powdered vanilla, because I had a habit of travelling, buying ingredients or foodstuff and then wanting to save them for a very special occasion. By the time one rolled around they were often not usable, or well past the sell by date. But I have also done this with shoes, with outfits and I suppose with life in general. We wait for that special occasion to do different things, eat special things, wear things, to be someone different. So one day I decided to create my own special occasions, and to make ordinary things special! 

And so for today's lesson - houses are made to be lived in, shoes are made to be worn, Life is made to be lived! Wear those shoes, live the hell out of those houses and make every day count!

Big love from a small island

Ps above is a photo collage of some of the photos I took on that walk around the Historic Garrison. The top photo is the house I mentioned.