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What the pandemic taught us

What the pandemic taught us
June 7, 2021 Allison Andrews

GUEST POST By Toby Witte

Our homes have failed us. You heard me right. Our homes have failed. us. The Pandemic made it painfully clear to us. We loathe to live in our homes. They don’t work.

Apparently they had been barely good enough for sleep, to dowse our psyche with endless reruns on Netflix, grab a bowl of cereal in the morning and run. Run to work. Run to run. Run for social settings. Anywhere but home.

And then we were asked to actually live in our homes. All day long. Spend all of our time there. Be there with our families, spouses, partners. To work there. Prepare food. Eat. Find calmness and breaks. Pick up a book for the first time in forever. Watch a movie together. Learn how to bake. Invite in strangers over Zoom calls. To be more intimate with our loved ones than ever before. We were confronted with the stuff we seem to accumulate without even trying. And it didn’t work.

We tried to hide from our kids. We tried to hide from our spouses. And they didn’t let us. It didn’t work.

We asked to be invigorated. To be picked up and taken out of the slump of Covid. We weren’t.

We asked to cook together, to eat together, to learn about new foods. We asked for taste. And it wasn’t given.

We asked for empathy. And none came.

We tried to learn how to play the saxophone and it was too loud.

And so it became painfully clear. Our homes are not made for us to live in.

Our homes are not made for us to live in.

So we tried to fix them. The entire residential construction industry seemed to have retooled itself to design and build additions, new kitchens, a deck, a sun room, a home office. We spent billions to make it work. But it still didn’t. Why? Because the houses we call home are soulless carcasees of industtiral thrift. The best our capitalism has managed to spit out for one purpose only. For someone to make more money. Fo someone to spend less and make more.

Because the houses we call home are soulless carcasses of industrial thrift.

We measure the quality of our homes based on their size and their location. And during the pandemic we have found out that neither have any measurable influence on our quality of life.

Neither the great neighborhood we find ourselves in and that supports our sense of status. Nor the bonus room or the addition we paid for made us happier, gave us a sense of ease, of support, of safety, of calm.

Our homes are not designed. They are not designed for us. And we haven’t asked them to be. We haven’t asked for the qualities and the functions and the magic that would have had a real positive impact on how we live. We haven’t asked for the kind of spaces that lift us up, that provide islands of repose, that allow for gathering and hiding. Spaces that enrich our lives every single day. That allow us to be us. That allow us to become better versions of ourselves. That allow us to be curious, adventurous, and daring. We haven’t asked for spaces that work.

Instead we let developers tell us what we want. We let banks tell us what we should pay for. We let HGTV sell us Target’s latest version of trendy home furnishings. And they have no clue of what we need. Why would they? We asked them to make money. We are their piggy bank.

So knock it off! Stop in your tracks! Ask yourself what you desire! How would you love to live? And go for it. Ask for that. And ask the right people! Ask for homes that are made for you! Ask for something specific! Something poetic. Ask for a home that is created with intention! For you.

And since our current homes don’t cut it. Ask for different answers! Ask for something different!