I’ve been dreaming a lot of dreams lately – about where I might live someday, what kind of work I might do, how to re-balance my life. None of it is really all that easy to do with my current lifestyle, most of which is fueled by the mortgage and related bills. It’s a beautiful house I live in, and I’ve been going on the theory that when you work at home, your house and surroundings are really important. On the other hand – then you’re working at home and can’t afford to do much else.
Part of the problem has been too many alternatives – it’s easy to think of all the possibilities, harder to choose among them and actually do something. I do a lot of looking around online and daydreaming, reading magazines of other people living out their dreams, checking out real estate in other countries and locally. One thought has been to downsize – whether near or far – live in a place that costs a lot less money or which I might even be able to buy outright, now or within a few years.
That would provide a lot of flexibility to make any of these alternatives happen. I’d have a place to be and put my things, but one that I could also leave and rent while I’m gone. A place that is nice and cozy, but not so big that it holds me to a particular job or income level. One where I couldn’t possibly have so much stuff that it would hold me back or tie me down (not like I have a lot of stuff now, even).
So I’ve been out on theMLSonline.com looking at houses, cottages, cabins near here. I even saved a few to my favorites list – but that’s all. What holds me back, I finally realized, is equal parts guilt and pride. I’ve put a lot into this house since I moved here – had a beautiful tri-level deck built with a hot tub, landscaping including a rocky stream and pond, painted every room in the house with my own custom colors… There’s a lot more I would do if I were sure I’d stay here, but now am always in the mode of “maybe I better not.” I’m not committed to it, nor committed to moving – just in limbo.
The guilt comes from spending all that money, and an entire summer of my step-father’s time, on all the improvements. The pride comes from how great it looks and truly enjoyable it is to be here, which is reinforced when people come over and comment on it. On the other hand, it’s expensive to maintain, especially for a single person – and I don’t use all the space. The place has one extra family room, one extra bedroom, and one more bathroom than I need. I wasn’t sure how much space I’d need with my home office when I moved in – but now I know almost exactly how much I need -around 1100 square feet would be ideal. 700 less than my current place. Being further from my neighbors (and their barking dog) would be nice too.
So the other day, I gave myself permission. Permission to at least explore the possibilities. I asked for a showing of a little cabin above that had been on my favorites list a long time, and had not sold yet. Synchronistically, (or maybe not, if she was paying attention) I got the realtor who sold me my house :) We went out and looked at it. It was cute, but just a little too small (800 sq ft) and the lot was not very private and WAY further out in the sticks than the map showed. Still, I looked. It feels good to take the first step toward actually doing something!