For one, we moved!
|New kitchen, with actual counter space. Be still, my heart.|
|Perfect for blueberry muffin-baking.|
This was not something I saw coming, necessarily, but became critical over the summer for a few reasons:
- The apartment we currently live in was raising the rent. While the main selling point of the complex used to be the price, especially given the fantastic neighborhood, the rent hike would put our monthly cost on par with other places in the same area.
- It was a second floor unit, and I was getting extremely tired of trying to guide a 2-year-old down the stairs in the morning, in heels, with my laptop, lunch box, gym bag, her backpack, etc. It was logistically challenging, and dangerous.
- We moved into said cheap, second floor, two bedroom apartment in the great neighborhood with the thought that maybe, just maybe, that would be our home until we were in a position to buy a house. It became abundantly clear during the year, once the reality of childcare costs and my impending student loan payments hit, that a house to "own" was probably not going to happen for us soon. If we're going to rent anyway, why not rent a place we love?
|Speaking of counter space, this is her new favorite place to be when mama cooks.|
We shopped around locally and in neighboring towns, and quickly concluded that while our apartment was nothing special, our neighborhood is a treasure that we were loathe to give up. Quaint old houses, quiet streets, proximity to downtown activities, the ability to run in the 5am darkness and only encounter elderly dog-walkers and the occasional possum? We couldn't leave.
Lucky for us, a place across the street opened up. We loaded up our belongings and settled in one block away from our former home. And we are happy. There is a bit more space, a functional layout, natural light streaming in, and friendly neighbors on all sides. I can see us staying here for years and growing our family.
It's so nice to feel settled, even if our "American dream" is not quite textbook. While 10 years ago the social pressures revolved around going to school, getting a job, and having enough money to go out on the weekends, now... now, as I'm approaching 30, the pressure is centered on having babies and buying houses. Owning your own house is the hallmark of stability, financial responsibility, and general grown-up-ness these days. I have many friends who have made that happen, and I couldn't be happier for them. It's not for us, though. Not right now. Honestly, a small part of me is glad that we are not in a position to buy. I am an adult. I am responsible. But I do not feel ready to take on the obligation that is owning a house. I know what you're going to say. "Equity!" "Independence!" "Security!" I hear you. We'll get there some day.
For now, I am in love with our quaint little rental. You can never really "own" the things that matter, anyway. Evening walks, the smell of bacon sizzling on a Sunday morning, warm bodies to snuggle up with at night - these things are mine, with or without the mortgage.