Wednesday, January 27, 2010

two sides

I've always been fascinated how two people can view the exact same thing completely differently. Your world viewpoint comes from so much - your background, your life experiences, your place in the world.

The best example of this in my life is our house. We live in the middle of a city, in a historic rowhouse built in 1914. It's big enough - 20 feet wide by 40 feet deep, with big high ceilings, original woodwork, built in china cabinets with original glass work, gorgeous hardwood floors. And the downsides of a older house - original drafty windows, small closets, old wiring and plumbing. It has good lines, as they say, and a classic feel, though not as elaborate as some truly grand turn of the century places. Over time, we've slowly been restoring bits and pieces (like stripping one stinking coat of ugly paint from the beam and coffered dining room ceiling!) and built up the attic into an office and switched the layout on the second floor to build an extra bathroom. But there remains much work to be done, though we've hit a standstill these past couple of years with small children and no real extra money (the two may be linked somewhat).

My husband and I both like the feel of older houses, there's something stately and distinguished about the grandeur that's different from modern suburbs with their atrium foyers and huge exapanses. (Though how I would love a redone kitchen!)

But the two persepctives: I look around and I think, of all our friends, we have a grand house indeed. Many of our friends live in condos or smaller places, or the small houses in the close in suburbs. We also have friends who live in the giant new, shiny places in the true suburbs, but there's no appeal for me (though the space! the closets! the shiny-ness! OK, there's some appeal.). I look at our house, a work in progress, and I am proud of it and sometimes even feel slightly embarassed by all we have compared to others.

My husband was raised in the burbs, and with his family, status was everything. He looks at our house compared to his friends (mostly the ones in the burbs) and is slightly embarassed by how much it lacks and how much it needs, and how even if we did everything, it would still not quite measure up (no yard, not enough space).

Same house. Two people who have poured a lot of heart and soul and cash into it. Two perspectives.

Anything in your life that you see so differently?


Tash said...

Hmm, I'll have to think on that, but the stuff about the house I could really relate to. My husband subscribed to "This Old House" the entire time we lived in a brand new house in a 'burb. It was a v. nice house, even unique as far as those planned houses go, but it really lacked soul. We moved into our 100+ year old house and felt as though we had really found our home. My FIL who lives in a planned community thinks we are INSANE for moving out of what we had into an old house, in the city. My parents on the other hand, think it's the best thing we ever could have done. We can't imagine living anywhere else, crazy wiring and plumbing, leaky gutters, overgrown yard and all. Probably because the molding and the fireplaces are original, and man they ROCK.

niobe said...

Um, yup. Absolutely. So differently that I'm tempted to ask "what color is the sky on your planet?"