Sometimes I feel like people think I have it easy since I have this cushy job where I live that affords me the luxury of not paying rent. It’s like they forget that I had to apply and be selected for the position, that I worked for 3 years solo as the manager while holding down another full-time job, that I have had to deal with all the bullshit that comes with managing people in a shared living space. I chose to take this extra job on for financial reasons- who wouldn’t be lured by the opportunity to not pay rent? But I’ve never slacked off and always done this job to my highest standards.The reward of being able to pay down my debt and save is well-deserved. We don’t get places without effort, planning, and commitment. And for the past 4 years, there has been a lot of that for me.
For the past couple months Mr. Darcy and I have been putting into our joint savings what we think the high-end of a mortgage payment might be for us. I didn’t want us to buy a house and all of sudden feel like we had no money- going from paying zero rent to a mortgage plus utilities plus all the stuff that inevitably will break and we’ll need to repair on our dime. Right now we want at least 3-6 more months of aggressive saving before we’d be comfortable moving. A huge bubble of fear rises up in me when I think of leaving the safety net of not having to pay rent. All those years where I struggled financially and ultimately filed for bankruptcy gnaw at me and I can’t always think clearly when that old fearful voice that freaks out about money is yammering on in my ear. (Shut up, fearmonger!)
It’s a big leap going from apartment managing to home ownership. Sure, we’ll no longer have to manage noise complaints among neighbors but we’ll now have to pay out of our pocket when the toilet isn’t flushing properly or there is an electrical problem. We’ve decided that we’re okay with that though. We’re at that place in our life where we’re willing to do take on those risks of home ownership rather than continue to live in a cramped, albeit cozy, one bedroom apartment. We want a yard, a dog, a guest room, a big kitchen with lots of counter space (ok, that’s all me), and a place big enough to throw dinner parties (again, that might be all me). We’re ready to leave the urban life for one that might be a bit more residential. We’re past the days of going out drinking until all hours, stumbling home drunk, and our biggest priority being proximity to clubs. We’re 38 years old. That isn’t our lifestyle anymore.
It’s taken me some time to swallow that truth because I’ve been fighting against getting older. The gray hairs, the laugh lines, the fatigue by 10pm, the idea of going over to a friend’s house for a small dinner party sounding way more appealing than a night at a bar- these are my truth. I used to think I was so behind- having not met my person until later in life, being a financial fuck up for most of my 20’s, not owning a home or having a kid as I get closer and closer to 40- but everyone has their own path and this one is mine. I’m slowly accepting that where we are at- two people who found each other in their mid-30’s who want to get hitched, pop out a kid, adopt a dog, and make a house into a home- is the best place for me.
We met with a realtor last night. We liked her a lot and are going to move forward with her representing us. We’ve been clear that we’re not in a hurry and don’t want to settle for just any house. We’ve got a good situation here managing the building and can take our time to find the perfect house for us. The excitement of what’s ahead is outweighing the fear.