Had you told me two years ago that I’d be living on a lake with amenities including a paved walkway around its entirety as well as 24/7 access to a fully equipped gym, I’d say, “if only.” And yet, here I am. Two years fully removed from my life as a library administrator the road to my now happy existence was an arduous one. After living with my brother for over a year and then with my parents for a few months, it was time to go it on our own.
It took some time to convince my husband. He’d previously loved being a homeowner and by this time had become accustomed to how closely knit I was with my immediate family. It wasn’t at all uncommon during those two years to dine weekly with my parents, to have television time with my brother and to help my nephew and niece with their homework. However, he’d always seemed a bit reticent about moving into an apartment. I have mostly fond memories of my time as a renter. The last time I was a renter was in the early 2000s in a community that has since been converted to condominiums. At the time, I was interested in being a condo owner but in 2005, it was the ideal time to buy my first home.
I’ve always considered my temperament to be that of a condo owner or a renter. I didn’t care for the expected unexpected surprises of homeownership. I remembered the cost and the annoyance of replacing an HVAC unit and the constant basic upkeep of paying to have a lawn of almost an acre routinely mowed. I far prefer the ease of contacting the leasing office to have those types of things handled. That isn’t to say that I’m not capable of dealing with it myself, I would just rather have someone else handle it while I tend to other things. After owning a home for almost a decade selling it wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. The first and only person to see the house once it was put on the market was the person who ended up purchasing it. By this time, it was 2014 and the effects of the financial crash was still evident. I didn’t “clean up” on the sale of my home but I didn’t have to take a loss. That was a blessing.
For two years I was uncomfortable. Sure, having the opportunity to live with family while I sorted my life out was great, but during that time, one either realizes just how much they love their independence or how much they loathe it. When people live with family it’s not uncommon to toss around the phrase “rent-free.” To an outsider, the thought of living without a mortgage or rent is insatiable. I must admit, it did feel that way at first. Who wouldn’t want to have one less sizable bill out of the way? But as they say, if it’s too good to be true, it often is. At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the sense of pride and accomplishment one feels in standing on their own two feet.
I must admit that I was concerned about the societal stigma around renting as if you’re lesser than those who chose the mortgage path. Homeownership doesn’t mean that you’re successful just as renting doesn’t make you a loser. There are pros and cons to both renting and buying. And because of that, I have chosen the path of renting for this phase of my life. As I sit in my home office overlooking the lake and its resident geese, I am appreciative of where my life has been and where it is going. After all, what’s good for the goose, isn’t always good for the gander!
This article appeared on page 5A in the 2/10/16 issue of The Union-Recorder.