I’ve been asked before, sometimes politely and sometimes not so much…
“Why don’t you guys have a house yet?”
I know, we’re 30 years old. I know, we have two children. Believe me I know, we’re wasting money on rent.
But I’ve never really known what’s holding me back.
Thing is, life is filled with these milestones. Important, incredibly memorable moments in time that change you, that you never forget. But there are a lot more of these milestones at the beginning of your life, not too many as you get older.
You graduate high school, then you go away to college. You graduate college. Then comes your first real job. You fall in love, you get married, you have kids. Now you’re a family. Then you buy a house…
All these milestones are behind me, except for buying a house. Isn’t that frightening to you? It scares the shit out of me.
These important, incredibly memorable moments for me are done. I’ll never go back to college, I’ll never experience the excitement of walking into your first job interview with all the hope and anticipation in the world. With all the faith in myself that I have my whole life ahead of me, that all my dreams still have the chance to be transferred to reality because I’ve got time to make them happen.
Not trying to be overly dramatic. I’m not fifty years old, I’m thirty. I still have plenty of time to walk this planet and see the things I want to see. But the larger than life dreams of youth, the ones that a very small percentage of the people in the world ever realize, those are pretty much off the table.
So now you want me to buy a house. You want me to take the last milestone I have left and put it behind me. And I’m afraid to. I am frozen here, renting a townhouse that is too small for us, complaining that the kitchen is too narrow and the neighbors are too loud, and still (a little bit happily) feeling like a twenty-something who hasn’t got it quite figured out yet, who is still on her journey, who still has milestones to conquer.
As is human nature, we get in our own way. We hold ourselves back, but we have our reasons. Maybe we aren’t ready to move forward, maybe we aren’t ready to grasp what is in front of us until we’ve mentally wrapped ourselves around the concept that life has a start and a finish. There is no rewind button, there are very few “do overs”, and when the easy part is over we have to put the effort in to find excitement and rebirth in the moments outside of the milestones.
And I think I can do it. I think I can find just as much happiness in the birth of my grandchildren that I found in the birth of my own. I think that my joy will be as insurmountable when my daughter walks across the stage to get her college diploma as it was when I took the same walk. I might recall, with some aching melancholy, the day when those incredible moments were my own. The little bit of tragedy is that I never fully appreciated how HUGE it all was when I was there, and I rushed it. We all do.
I wanted to get through high school, college was stressful and it was all about just getting out so you could start your “real life”. I wanted so badly to fall in love and I spent a good amount of that relationship wondering how he would propose and then wondering WHEN would it finally happen.
Then I opened my eyes. A wife, a mother, working a job I love and living a life that is more than what I could have asked for or deserve. And all the things I rushed into and through, I miss.
If I could pass on any advice, it would be to just slow down. Be young, be free. Learn about life and about yourself. Just enjoy thinking about yourself, being responsible for yourself, and nurturing only YOURSELF. If you spend more time being aware and thankful of every milestone you encounter and pass through, you will be less likely to be frozen in fear when talking about mortgages.