I spend far too much time thinking about the house we don’t own.
Over the past few years we have created budgets, discussed the cost of living and outlined savings plans. We have spent Saturday mornings driving to open houses, clicked through pages of real estate websites and had meetings with brokers. Our savings continue to grow but for now we still don’t have quite enough to cover the $120k (or so) deposit.
Two moves in eighteen months has left me feeling a little house weary. Our current home is filled with light and incredibly easy to live in (practicality wins over aesthetics when you have small children) but I still long for a cottage to call our own. Right now, this house feels like a stepping stone.
But it’s this stepping stone that has proved the most valuable lessons to me. I do spend a lot of time and energy conjuring the house we’ll buy, the paint we’ll use for the walls and the shelves I’ll install in the kitchen. And somehow I attribute happiness to that picture; I place home ownership right beside contentment.
Thanks to a persistent sore throat and ear ache, I’ve spent the past few weeks away from social media. The quiet has been soothing and the new-found perspective refreshing. For me, there’s a fine line between inspiration and envy – an ugly truth but a truth all the same. And I find that flicking through instagram can sometimes leave me wanting – wanting high ceilings and white walls and grassy hills and French windows. Wanting so much of what I can’t have right now. It’s the modern-day take on keeping up with the Jones’ except the Jones’ have multiplied and you can see in their windows (albeit styled and filtered) every minute of every day.
It’s hard to admit but if I can’t have gratitude for what I have now, I won’t find it when we eventually buy a home. Because a home will come with a mortgage and a long list of renovations and repairs – new challenges and costs and stresses. And right now, the constant wanting and striving is not a recipe for happiness or gratitude either – quite the opposite.
At this very moment, simple living is not about making my own bread or growing my own vegies; it’s practising non-attachment to home ownership and ideals. It’s letting go of wanting and being grateful for the privilege of living where we do – safely and freely and with an abundance of opportunity.
“One of the principal tenets of mindfulness is that it’s important not to be attached to life unfolding in a certain way. Most of our suffering occurs when we want things to be different or when life doesn’t go to plan. At a practical level, we know that everything will unfold as it unfolds, but it’s still tempting to want to control what we can.”
Kate James – be mindful & simplify your life