Tidy – chapter 7: own your colors
What does a life look like that is designed with love? Margaret inherited her mother’s house with the words, “Make this house a home.” Margaret is finding out what that means.
(Continued) “Visualize your destination.” It’s a Saturday afternoon and Margaret has picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up again, after sensing that something was changing in her life, and that something seemed to coincide with her willingness to open this book a couple months ago – the book her mother gave her in the hopes that Margaret’s life would change. And change for the better.
Margaret takes a sip of her iced pineapple green tea and looks out from her mother’s – or rather – her porch. She keeps having to correct herself. This is her home. It used to be her mother’s home, but now it’s hers. Truthfully, it still feels like a combination of the two, which she acknowledges is an improvement. She is not erasing her mother’s memory by redecorating; she is celebrating her mother’s can-do spirit by ordering the tiles for the kitchen. Her mother loved color and she would have loved these tiles. She would have loved that the tiles are assembled by a non-profit organization which employs developmentally disabled adults to do production work, and assists them to live full lives and be part of a community.
Her mother lived a full life with lots of friends and wanted that for Margaret, too. So when Margaret read the words, “visualize your destination,” she paused. What is her destination? Margaret looks up and sees Francis, the cat, stalking a bird on the front lawn. ‘The cat’ or is it ‘her cat?’ ‘The house,’ or ‘her house?” Margaret has a pronoun problem, and it involves ownership. Was she willing to ‘own’ her destination? ‘Own’ her life? ‘Own’ her choices?
“You think too much.” Her dad once told her. He was trying to show her how to change the oil in the family car and Margaret was distracted. She was sixteen and didn’t really care about oil-changes. “You need to be independent. If you can change the oil in your car, you can do anything.” Margaret wasn’t sure that sentiment had really rang true for her, but it did pop into her mind when she thought about installing tile in her kitchen. Should she hire an installer, or do it herself? She had come across a YouTube video that made it look pretty easy, and actually fun. Just like in the Tidying book where Marie Kondo writes that if you do it right, tidying can be fun.
But why? Why tidy? Why redecorate? What is the destination?
“Oh, I’m glad you’re home.” Margaret looks up and sees a man in his sixties wearing jeans, work boots and a white t-shirt splattered with paint. “The postman mistakenly left this at my house yesterday. You must be Alice’s daughter. I’m Reese. I live next door.” Margaret smiles. “Hi, I’m Margaret.” Reese puts down the box and takes Margaret’s hand. “Pleasure to meet you. You need a hand with this?” “Sure,” says Margaret. “It must be my tile samples for the kitchen.”
Reese rips open the box and takes out a panel of beautifully-colored glass tile. “I designed the pattern myself.” Reese looks up. “Are you an artist?” Margaret laughs. “No, the company’s website has a page where you can choose your colors to create your own blend. It’s pretty cool.” “Well, you did a good job.” Margaret feels a swell of something like pride inside her chest. She runs her hand over the tiles. She feels excited. The colors make her happy. That seems like a pretty good destination.
This is the seventh installment in a weekly series about aspirational living. Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves all things Modwalls.
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