Look, I know this sounds creepy, but there is a chance I have been inside your home. Not only in it, but perusing every inch of it, from your furnishings to your gardening skills. I have seen where you sleep, where you shower and where you eat.
I am not proud of my voyeuristic adventures. However, I would like to point out my intrusion into your privacy was perfectly legal. Because I am one of those people, a real estate addict who looks at an open for inspection sign as an alcoholic would an open bar.
I can’t help myself. I might be innocently driving by when I spot the siren song of an “open” notice and I will find myself crossing four lanes in heavy traffic to answer its call. And once inside, I will imagine the place for sale as my own, mentally redecorating it to my taste. I turn your place into my palace, an oasis where I could relax and recharge.
You see, in my defence, a home is more than just a place to live or an investment to me – it is like an exoskeleton, an extension of myself, something that keeps the vulnerable side of me safe from the outside world; the part of me that feels exhausted with too much exposure.
It is my cave and my castle. I am so introverted these days, I am like a turtle. When my energy levels are depleted, I need to pop my head into my shell and close off everything. Nothing to see here. And, like a turtle, there is only room for one when this happens (pets most welcome). Which is why, for the best part of two decades, I’ve chosen to live by myself. And I have never regretted this decision for a minute, even at the height of my lockdown ennui.
I know this as I have lived with others before, and no matter how much I enjoy their company, there always comes a time when I am like the spinning wheel of doom on my computer, whirring towards an inevitable crash. Once I have plugged myself back in by spending time alone, I’m not just ready for company, I relish it. Hence, my obsession with turning every space I see into something that soothes my soul and cossets me comfortably until I am ready to face the outside world once more.
This past year, I have never been more grateful for the home I have. But as much as I love it, I have always wanted more. My dream has always been to live where I can see, smell and hear the ocean. Water is magical to me. Spiritual even. But my goal of moving has always been some time in the future. When I get my act together. When my ducks are all in a row. When I win the lottery …
But being denied access to nature through lockdown restrictions has brought me back to the truism that life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. While my dream is still to live as close to sea and surf as possible, I don’t actually need a bigger and better house, as I believed. I have decided to remind myself that I don’t need to own a beachside mansion because I can always put my towel down in front of someone else’s.
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