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
A lovely post Jodi. Reminding us all to focus on what we do have, instead of what we don’t. I’ve come to the realisation that if my family and I have health and safety, then we ultimately have everything to be thankful for. I am also loving the new blog layout. It is refreshing and so easy to navigate. Well done xx
Cannot express enough how much I love this and how much I needed to read it. I too long for a house of our own and it’s very, very far away, which often makes me miserable. I need to learn to be grateful for what I do have – three healthy kids and a roof over our heads in a safe part of the world. Thank you xx
I can absolutely relate to this! We are living in such a small flat where it is impossible to find a spot that is just for me. And I feel that I desperately need it. But our current situation doesn’t allow moving in another flat or even house. I totally agree with all you said, especially that it’s a fine line between inspiration and envy. But it is a little comforting to know that I’m not alone with this!
Thank you! Greetings from Germany
I love this post Jodi. We live in England and have raised four children in rented houses. Only just a month ago, now that our youngest is thirteen years old, have we managed to buy a house. It is not our dream home, as seen on Instagram and Pinterest, but it is a lovely house, and the reality of the situation is that this is the house that we can afford, in the area we want to live in. My children loved our rented home, and didn’t want to move, they didn’t care whether or not we owned it, as long as they felt warm and safe. That’s really all that matters. Much love to you and your family.
It’s comforting to hear other people feel this way, too. Due to a crippling divorce and work furloughs, I am living in a sketchy apartment. No room for a garden or even room to set a chair out to enjoy the evening coolness. Most of what I’ve collected over the years is in storage (at a exorbitant price) and I know I need to simplify, but it’s so hard after collecting what I love over the years. Most of you are younger and hopefully you will all find your dream home sooner than later. I just never thought at my age, I’d be in a tiny apartment and most likely will never own a home again. Gosh, that sounds maudlin, but maybe actually typing the words will help me realize what is important and to not dwell so desperately on the longing.
Thank you for this reminder, I have the home but am longing for the renovation part instead of enjoying my brief pause in career to enjoy family, I’m so thankful to have stumbled upon your blog, you give me very timely reminders.
Thank you Jodi! We also feel the dilemma after trying to find an affordable renting place in NYC, storing our books and other beloved things at our parents’ places in two continents, and dreaming of a place to call our own. Your words are most insightful; this is such a common challenge among people in our generation at this time of history.