Real Estate Realities

compelling thoughts on the need to "move on up"

I don’t know how it started. Somehow I got sucked in, and the next thing I knew, it was one in the morning. And I was glued to my computer screen looking at real estate websites, seriously considering what it would take to sell our house and buy a new one across town. This was only last week, but after a lot of soul searching, I’ve come to my senses. I think. You see, during that whirlwind romance with one special mid century modern home five miles away, I discovered a few things about how the culture around me has affected the way I view life. Maybe you feel the same.

The home I was admiring from in front of my computer was something we could easily afford, and it could use just the right amount of work, but not too much to intimidate someone like me. It had a sunken living room- something I’d always dreamed of, and have become increasingly obsessed with since Don and Megan Draper’s apartment in season five of Mad Men. I was literally laying awake thinking about how I would arrange the furniture, and what kind of flooring we would instal. After two days of this, I realized I had sunken back into my old habit. It was a bad habit that I thought I had outgrown when I learned I had cancer last year.

Facing your immortality after a cancer diagnosis can be a really great thing. You start analyzing your life, focusing in on things that are really important, and cutting out a lot of the stuff that just takes up extra space. I got real with myself and considered how much energy and hopes I tend to put into planning for my future. A future which isn’t even guaranteed to me. I spent many of my thoughts planning on what I would buy next, how we would decorate our living room when we had the money, how I would style my hair when it finally grew out, what clothes I would enjoy wearing when I lost weight, and how fun life would be when we started having children. So much of my life was wrapped up in planning for things, that I failed to fully enjoy the things that were happening right then.

Last week when I found myself unrealistically planning another house move- what could have been the fifth move in six years, I realized I was settling into my old ways of thinking. I had stopped enjoying our house, because I wanted to start planning out a new one. I was ready for the next project, a new challenge, and certainly a bit of an upgrade. Have I become addicted to redecorating and home planning? Has reading too many design blogs made me unhappy with the little home that we already have? Good golly, I think these are real issues that weren’t exactly deleted with my cancer-self-discoveries.

These days, with the influx of design blogs, accessibility to so much inspiration on Pinterest and elsewhere, it’s become increasingly normal to lead a discontented lifestyle. I’m not willing to give up on Pinterest or blogs altogether, but what kind of habits can I get into that will help me deal with my urges to upgrade and renovate? I don’t have the money for that kind of lifestyle, and it’s certainly not a healthy state to live in, emotionally speaking. For one, I’ve decided to stay off of real estate websites until we’re actually planning on making a move and the money’s in the bank. I don’t even want to be tempted, as fun as it is to see what’s out there. And something else I’d like to do is to enjoy time in my home, without looking around and thinking about what I want to change. It will take a lot of mental control to stop those thoughts from clouding my mind, but I think the effort will be worth it in the end.

So we’ll be in our house for a few more years at least. And I’m going to work on loving what we have, and admiring beautiful homes in magazines without allowing them to make mine feel inadequate. We don’t live in a magazine, and that’s okay. Our home is where life happens, and that’s why it’s special.

11 Responses

  1. libby says:

    This has been such a heavy subject in my heart this past… year or so? Being happy with what I have rather than being far too concerned with what I don’t. Gosh, just writing that seems so self-explanatory and like a “duh” thought–but the reality of it is so much heavier than it seems on the surface.
    PS Yes to the Draper’s apartment. :)

  2. marcelien says:

    I thought of this, and of course it comes from pinterest, but it’s so true! :). Enjoy your home! I think it’s so cute and i really like the fur footstool on abm :).

  3. Carin says:

    This has been on my mind a lot this year too. Comparison and discontentment has weighed heavily on my mind and I’ve had to talk sense with myself more than once.

  4. Lisa says:

    I’m so glad that you posted this. We moved into our little house 6 years ago. At the time, we were only allowed to get a mortgage on my husband’s salary as I had no job to go to where we were moving, so we bought the only 3 bedroomed house we could afford (houses in the UK are tiny compared to the US – really poky little rooms and very little space). It needed a lot of work and we’d decided that we’d do it up then move to a place we really liked that was much bigger and had more character in about 3 years. Then the housing market crashed, prices dropped and we’re now stuck here as I had my son and never went back to work so am only on a part time writer’s wage and our house is now worth less than we paid for it.

    I get downhearted because I really thought we’d be living in a lovely big farmhouse by now, but we’re still stuck here with no way out. Because it’s not the house of my dreams, I neglect it and can’t get excited about making it nice. I recently decided, though, to make the best of a bad situation. We’re having a new bathroom put in in January, and I’ve started a little scrap book of ideas for the rest of the house. This is my home, and deep down I’m fond of it, so I need to appreciate what I’ve got and give it some love.

  5. Jenny Morris says:

    Thank you for writing this post! It’s funny because I’ve been reading your blog for years, and back in the early days I’d make schemes to move out and start over so I could have a place more like yours! I love your sense of style and in the past year I’ve worked really hard to incorporate it into my own space and now I love it so much more. When I am finally ready to move many of my favourite elements of my current place with come with me. Thanks for the reminder to get off the craigslist classifieds!

  6. Man, I needed to read this. I too fall into that rabbit hole of coveting what just can’t realistically be mine (right now, maybe never). I spent years hating the house I rent while forgetting to be grateful that I even HAVE a home to rent, and an affordable one at that. It’s so easy to skim through all these beautiful blogs, looking at pictures of beautiful people living their beautiful lives in their beautiful homes, and losing sight of what’s important.

    The only way I have been able to enjoy time in my current home lately is by keeping it clean and having friends over. Keep it full of laughter and fun, it helps a little <3.

  7. Robin says:

    some people would be happy just to live in a house let alone own one

    • Mandi says:

      Exactly! You need to put things in perspective, and it gets difficult to do that when you surround yourself with “inspiration” from people who live an out-of-touch lifestyle.

  8. allie says:

    I’m looking at this again & I’m reminded how much I want a fur coat. :) You are beautiful!

  9. allie says:

    oops wrong post! :) I meant the one above hehe. I’m moving to fast.