A house takes on the character of its inhabitants; a homeowner takes on the characteristics of the house.
For some reason, I have always been fascinated about the interplay between ourselves and our surroundings. At some point I realized that the way our personas are formed is much like the way a face emerges out of clay under the sculptor’s hands: we offer resistance to the tempering forces of life, and the result of this dynamic interaction is the unique “mask” that appears to the world as us.
The point of this aphorism is that we should not underestimate the degree to which our surroundings shape us…and we shape our surroundings. Would our decisions be different if, in addition to considering the utility of bringing something into our lives (a pet, a house, a person), we considered the potential ways that the new addition might fundamentally influence who we are (or will become)? Things can take on a different meaning when looked at in this way.
Although it is reassuring to think otherwise, it is important to remember that we do not simply act on the world, the world acts on us—in surprising measure, and in every circumstance.