How Familiarity Can Breed Happiness


English: A typical colonial-style single famil...

English: A typical colonial-style single family home in the Countryside subdivision in Sterling, Virginia. This model, known as the “Williamsburg,” was built by Pulte Homes in 1984 and has five bedrooms and 3.5 baths and is valued at approximately $505,000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article by Wendy McCance

In my life I have lived in 4 different states and within those states, 9 different homes.  Some of the homes I lived in were not really homes per say but apartments lived in after moving out of my parents house.  I have lived in a ranch style home, a quad-level home, a bungalow and a few colonial style homes in my lifetime.  Even so, since having a family, I have had 3 homes of my own.

For the majority of my life, the colonial style home has been most familiar.  I spent close to 13 years growing up in a colonial style house.  The majority of my friends and family lived in the same style home.  When I was starting a family of my own, the first home that I owned was a bungalow.  It was just me, my husband and one child and seemed to be a great size for a small family.  When my daughter was a baby, I loved that my home was small because as a new mother I was so nervous about making sure I heard my daughter if she cried during the night and was able to keep an eye on her during the day.  My first home gave me comfort because I was always able look up and see what she was up to from wherever I was at.

Then I had two more children 13 months apart.  The sweet little bungalow was now bursting at the seams.  Forget what the home felt like if we had company over.  There was no place to move around and it felt as though everyone was on top of each other.  After a divorce and becoming remarried, the family moved into what we had termed “the party house.”

The quad-level home we moved into had a room for each child to call their own.  The floor plan was opened up and there was even a finished basement.  The kitchen was quite large and became the favorite room of the home.  The kids would do homework at the kitchen island while dinner was being prepared and it felt cozy, warm and inviting to hang out in that room.

We encouraged the kids to have as many friends over at a time as they wanted.  With all of the different levels, the kids could truly get lost in the home with their friends without being on top of each other.  There would be times we had 15 kids running around, but we would barely hear a sound because of the layout of the house.  This home was definitely built for a family with older kids who had a mom that wasn’t worrying about where the small kids were at and if everything was ok.  Our best parties were at the quad home.  We always encouraged people to just drop in, and they did, and we loved it.  This home was at it’s best when it was filled to the brim with activity.

When my husband and I lost our jobs and the home, we were devastated.  This was the home that had everything we had dreamed of.  There were 5 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 4 floors all finished, a huge kitchen that could accommodate at least 10 people comfortably at a time and a huge yard.  We had a wonderful neighborhood and great neighbors.  We thought that this would be the home that our grandchildren would be visiting and had settled into the idea that this home was it.

Don’t get me wrong, there were endless issues with this house.  We found out that the home was on top of a spring.  Not only did we have horrible flooding in our finished basement when it rained, but our garage floor completely buckled and caved in washed away from the constant flow of water underneath.  We had rotting wood under siding, a roof that needed to be ripped off and redone and an assortment of other issues that were all extremely expensive and stressful.

So when we were looking for a new home for our family, we had only two cares.  We wanted the kids to stay in the same schools, and we wanted them each to have a room of their own.  The size of the home, the look of the house, how many bathrooms and such wasn’t something we could consider.  We just crossed our fingers and hoped to find a home that could give the kids some comfort and consistency.

The second home we saw with our realtor was a colonial style house.  There were 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half bathrooms and enough room to spread out a bit and feel comfortable.  When my husband and I walked into the home,  it was evident immediately  that the layout was just like the colonial I had grown up in.  The rooms were in the same places.  The hallway, closet and staircase were all placed in the same positions.  I felt like I was walking through my childhood home and was immediately comforted.

We fell in love with the home and felt grateful to have found it.  It was smaller than the house we had just left but it didn’t matter.  We could envision the kids growing up in this home that felt so comfortable.  When my parents have visited this house, they have said the same thing that I felt.  It feels like the home we had all lived in.  My dad was over yesterday and after hanging out for a while, we went out to the porch and sat down.  Our neighborhood is quiet and friendly.  There are always neighbors out walking dogs, children playing in their yards and people waving and saying hello.  My dad mentioned that when he comes over he is always reminded of my childhood home.  It’s a similar neighborhood and the house has the same layout.  He gets a content smile on his face and mentions that he always loved that house.  It’s just the same way I feel.  This home we live in now comforts me daily.  I sometimes feel as though I had moved back into my childhood home and my parents are still there watching out for me.  It’s amazing how the familiarity of an old home can give me so much happiness and comfort in this new home I live in now.

I am grateful too because my children have mentioned that they feel cozy in this house.  They will say that they loved our old home but it was big and open and really only felt good when it was full of people.  This home is quieter and holds you close like a comforting hug.  The home feels at its best when the windows are opened and the birds are singing.  My husband is cooking on the grill and the kids are snuggled up with a book or jumping on the trampoline in the backyard.  It’s just quieter, more intimate and maybe the house we needed to be in at this stage of our lives.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

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