Our best friends are buying a house. They were just like us - a family stuck in a townhouse that was underwater. They bought in 2005, and truthfully, a lot of the reason I rushed to buy was because they had. I was envious of their townhouse, particularly because from 2005-2006 we lived in a terrible apartment with horrible neighbors, and we wanted O-U-T. We saw our friends enjoying their brand new townhouse, picking out paint colors, buying new furniture, and we wanted that too. So as soon as we could, we went and bought a place. And in hindsight, maybe we didn't think hard enough about that decision.
Now they are no longer underwater, and so are putting their townhome on the market and just had an offer accepted on a big, single family home. I'm totally thrilled for them - I know they really want this and have worked really hard to get here. Of course, I'm envious again too. They're getting to do something that I desperately want.
This time, though, I need to keep my head about me. We need to buy when the time is right for us. And right now, it's not. But in a year, it will be.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I really want, and the truth is, I do really want a house. While the condo has been great for us before we had children, and when our children were small, we need a little bit more room to stretch our legs now. We had a fantastic party for my birthday last weekend, and all my friends gathered at our house for pizza and beer. One thing that was tricky was that the kids wanted to play outside, so we ended up with a couple of parents outside in the front of the condo building watching the kids play, while everyone else was upstairs hanging out. It was fine, but I kept thinking of how much easier it would be if we could just open up the door and be in the back yard. Shlepping up and down the stairs to go hang out outside is getting kind of old.
I am learning that it's OK to want a house but still be content in the condo. These two things are not mutually exclusive. And I can still want a house while working toward a more simplified, minimalist lifestyle. I've been so drawn lately to the minimalist movement because it aligns so well with the life we're leading in the condo, and I've consequently started second-guessing whether moving next year makes sense for us. But I think it does. We'll still be able to have a simplified lifestyle, even if we do move into a larger, single family home. Simplicity is more about living intentionally, not buying things just to keep up with others, not working around the clock just so you can buy more things, etc. If we keep our values at the forefront when it comes time to shop for a house and buy something modest that will fit our needs, at a price that fits our budget, I think we will still be living simply. In fact, I hope it will be a way for us live even more simply - by being able to garden, by giving us more space that we will be more inclined to stay home instead of going out, etc.
I struggle a lot with the green-eyed monster, I know. But it's unproductive, and I know this too. I am countering my envious feelings by reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for in my own life, with sincere feelings of happiness for my friends, and by using it as motivation to work all that much harder toward my own goal.
But, it's hard. Deep breaths.