We have always been told, at least we were in my day, that first impressions may end up being lasting impressions. That is a bit frightening since when you stop to think about it, how we look or act may not always reflect the person we are inside.
In a given moment we may be tired, sick, preoccupied, in short, not perfect. I remember many years ago double dating. It was the first time I had met Jane and for whatever reason, my impression of her wasn’t a good one. I have never forgotten that because soon she became one of my best friends. That old adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” ideally should apply to a lot of our first impressions. First impressions are made and received by people so extending a little slack is not a bad idea.
Years ago people entertained at home much more than they do today. Friends dropped in unexpectedly and it was no big deal. I remember my husband’s parents talking about the Great Depression in the 30’s and how neighbors showed up unannounced and they would share a bottle of beer and scramble a few eggs because that was all they had. It was a hard time and yet a simple time which makes such memories precious.
Today, such times seldom happen. Maybe it is because of our fast-paced society coupled with the fear of imposing and the idea of being embarrassed if the tables were turned on us by an unexpected guest. Maybe it is because of the perfectionist hidden in all of us. Whatever it is, we know deep down, impressions do make a difference to each of us.
The impression we have of our own homes affects our relationships and our willingness to entertain but it also affects us in a very personal way. A positive or negative impression of our homes can make us happy or sad. It can lighten our spirits or throw us into a funk. Our homes, whether we believe it or not, are a reflection of us and therefore if they don’t live up to that inner standard there is a type of disconnect; we are embarrassed, annoyed and uncomfortable.
When I travel I make sure that I do a little more in our home in preparation for leaving so that on re-entering I will walk through the front door eager to be there. When we are away we keep within us an inner picture of home thus there is nothing worse than being greeted by the dread of what is awaiting us behind that door. Preparation is part of control and if for no other person than our sanity and well being, it is not a bad idea to be, as they say, “always prepared.”
Being prepared doesn’t mean having the picture perfect house but it does mean striving for those things that give you peace and that say welcome to you and your guests. It is rather simple when you think about it. It has nothing to do with money or a lot of things: actually too many things may add to the challenge you are trying to control. Being prepared is to be found in picking up the clutter at the end of the day; it is found in making sure the beds are made at the beginning of the day and that the kitchen counter can be seen and adorned only with what belongs on it.
So often we get things backwards by feeling that if we don’t have all the right and up to date stuff that somehow we aren’t ready, that the good impression we want to make won’t be there. In truth it is order and cleanliness that speaks the loudest and says welcome home. It is what lets our friends know we care!
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Kathie Hunt, founder of HomeAdvantage Plus, decided, with husband John, to call Naples home after 13 years of being “snowbirds.” She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathiehunt239@aol.com.