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Commitment Phobia

built-inOnce upon a time, I was afraid to commit. The idea of permanence was alarming. The notion of forever was frightening. I preferred freedom, the ability to move about on whim, the license to change my mind. I hate to disappoint, but I'm not talking about love and relationships and monogamy. But I am talking about things almost as exciting and consequential: furniture and bookshelves and storage.

Another Friday. Another update on the Happy Headache (the untimely-given-this-recession-gut-reno of our new place). This morning we had a big meeting. Husband and I walked through the site with the whole team (architects, contractors, kitchen designer, decorators).

Gingerly, we trouped through the dusty work in progress, slithering through steel beams, dodging saws and lasers (yes, there were lasers. Green ones. Not sure what they were doing there, but I thought they were groovy). And as we snaked through the controlled chaos, I realized something. I realized that in the process of designing a home you find out about far more than materials and fixtures and finishes (and lasers). You find out a lot about yourself.

Want an example? Sure you do.

Five years ago, when Husband and I moved into our current abode, I had a strong opinion on built-ins. I hated them. I preferred free-floating furniture. Unique pieces that could be mixed and matched. Pieces that could be tossed or moved. I abhorred the prospect of fixing shelving or cabinetry to a wall. But now? I want to build a shelf or a cabinet or a countertop in every nook and cranny of our new place. Now this will not happen as there is a little thing called a "budget" that Husband reminds me of from time to time when I spiral into my very-Aidan-esque zone of impracticality. But why do I suddenly crave cabinets and counters? Why the sea change?

Want my theory? Sure you do.

This is not about a simple shift in aesthetic predilections. No, this is about a somewhat scary twofold evolution.

(1) I hate to admit it, but I am growing up. I am warming up to the idea of (gulp) commitment. Built-ins embody a sense of permanence, of commitment, of decision. They cannot be dragged around a room on a whim. They are fixed in one spot, there for good (or at least until the next Yuppie family gets their grubby little hands on them). And you know what? This is suddenly fine with me. I am finally ready to settle down. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. Wait. Yes, I do. I feel proud that I am maturing into an adult. And I feel sad that I am not a kid. I feel both of these things. Constantly. Not just when pondering decor dilemmas.

(2) I hate to admit it, but despite my best efforts to fight it, I am becoming more practical. Built-ins are practical. They save space. They fit because they are custom-created. They offer so much storage! For books and toys and dolls and blankets and toothbrush collections and plastic power saws. They allow us to pretend that there is a modicum of order in our lives. You can stuff all the stuff in cabinets and then close the door and poof - civilization returns. Kind of.

To recap: (1) Built-ins will be ubiquitous in our new place; (2) I have overcome my construction commitment phobia; (3) I am morphing into a practical person; (4) I am old.

Writing this post is boring me. It is also making me feel bad about the rational creature I have apparently and unwittingly become. So now I will stop writing it. And I will close Laptop. And I will walk outside into the sunshine. And I will do something young and impractical that does not involve lasers or storage or commitment. For example, I might (1) savor a rebellious Friday afternoon glass of rose with my sister; or (2) try on a fluorescent mini dress I would never buy because it is fluorescent and mini and a dress and I am thirty; or (3) go home and vroom toy taxis on the hardwood floor with giggling girls and try to remember what it was like to be a kid, a creature shrouded in blissful oblivion and untainted by silly adult concepts like "commitment" and "practicality" and "old." Cheerio.

Thoughts on built-ins? Thoughts on commitment? Anyone have the 411 on those groovy green lasers?

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Island Living