I can’t let January end without telling you about my new series called, “Closer to Home.”
As most of you know, I pursued architecture because I wanted to design homes. My exposure to architecture practice was pretty much non-existent, but of the careers I investigated in college, it seemed like the one I could imagine myself being happy doing as a career.
Over the past eight years as a professional, I never designed a house. The jobs I accepted were at great companies and for specific reasons like working at a firms that practiced sustainable design or had women architects who could serve as mentors. My work experience was invaluable and the people I met at both firms have become amazing and supportive friends. I have no regrets about working in commercial buildings.
Over the last three years I felt an emptiness about where I was in my career. The economic downturn made it worse as I saw friends and colleagues lose their jobs. I have to say that, while I maintained employment, it was the hardest three years in my career. I had just become a licensed architect and this was the beginning of my long, prosperous, and fulfilling career? I was holding on to my job for dear life, not loving what I was doing, and people who loved their work were unemployed. To say that I was disillusioned is an understatement.
Fast forward to a few years ago. My husband probably heard me say more than a dozen times, “ I used to be really creative…I made stuff all the time.” In my life before architecture dancing, painting, and writing poetry were ways that I expressed myself. After graduate school all of that disappeared because I was climbing the ladder and doing what I thought I should be doing.
Cue the “aha” moment.
I decided that before I gave up on architecture and started over I would go back to the one thing that inspired my interest in the profession all those years ago. Last year I embarked on a journey to know more about why “home” inspired and haunted me. Sometimes I felt like the word “home” was pursuing me – appearing on signs, in songs, in movies Elena wanted to watch and toys she played with—like a Play-doh cookie cutter my friend sent to her. Or that she loved to say the word “home” when we pulled in the driveway.
Last year was quite a year for me. I ended up quitting my job of almost six years, started this blog, began writing and making more than in previous years. For me, it was the beginning of a breakthrough.
What I discovered for myself was that “home” means more than anything I ever could have imagined. For me, it ends up that it is more than the roof over my head or the houses that get built or designed. This journey so far has shown me what is missing and has revealed ways to get the passion for the built environment back in my life. Closer to home is about my pursuit and discovery into the word that fills and fuels my life and gets me closer to the life I want to live–gets me closer to the real me.