When I mentioned that I was looking for new contributors to my blog, Chloe was one of the first to reach out and I’m glad she did! Today she’s sharing her questionable dating history, the beginning of her house search, and her 2013 mantra: “All I have is enough.” – RW
Tomorrow my new husband and I are going to look at houses — our first time in the new year. Last night I had dreams of houses and babies. The two go hand-in-hand for me. I can’t help it. So you can bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow I will be clinging to my 2013 mantra for dear life and reminding myself: all I have is enough. I tend to fall in love with houses. Almost all houses. I can make us live there in my mind; with a few minor (and some major) changes, voilà — it’s the perfect home for us. We’re looking for a three bedroom but I’ve made two bedrooms work. We’re looking for something close to the highway and I’ve made living in the country work for us. This is also kind of how I approached dating for most of my twenties. What? You want to keep a 6-foot high safe full of guns in our apartment? OK. Oh hello, you never want kids. I think we can make this work. I’m sorry, did you just pick that pimple until it bled and then put it in your mouth here in this fancy restaurant? Sure, I’ll go home with you.
All things that actually happened. I’m sorry to all women everywhere.
The thing is, when I felt unsatisfied alone and wondered when, if ever, I would meet my life partner, I settled for questionable company in a kind of desperation to make anything work. I was worried that since “alone” didn’t feel like enough, I should go ahead and be with, well, anyone. I know. (We all know, right?)
Anyway, I managed to get the cream of crop when it comes to husbands. Mostly, I think it was luck. But, coincidentally, I had also entered into a commitment to myself to not settle (another New Year’s resolution). I had realized that I was actually doing pretty well by myself and frankly, that I would rather enjoy my apartment without guns, thankyouverymuch. As it turned out, dining in fancy restaurants alone also proved preferable to sitting across from Mr. Pimple Picker. When I let go of my desperation to ensure the future that I wanted and became okay with the present being enough, I was open and confident when I met the man who later became Mr. Right. I intend to exercise those same muscles when it comes to buying a home. And maybe, just maybe, if I manage to remember that what I have now truly is enough, I won’t feel so desperate to get into just any house. Because, like picking a husband, I think it’s going to be easier to choose and buy a house if I am able to keep desperation out of it.
That’s what this mantra is all about for me. It’s not really about never wanting anything, or not striving for the next goal. It’s about the value that I place in those next big things or goals. I want to have an inner strength and sense of peace that can’t be easily moved by material goods or things happening outside of my control. That’s not to say that I want to be detached from the physical world; I simply want to practice and become skilled at choosing what touches my inner self and what doesn’t. And a house is not something that is necessary to the good of my inner soul. It seems like it is because we attach so much of our well-being and self-worth to the houses we live in. But all we really need is shelter. Shelter is imperative for our survival, so the lack thereof would certainly touch my inner soul. But buying a house isn’t the same as obtaining shelter for survival. I have shelter now. Thus, all I have is enough.
But luckily, I have access to great opportunities and a good job. I also have a husband who has a good job. Our financial background allows us to qualify to borrow enough money to buy a house, money that we will also be able to pay back each month and still have money left over for other things! This means that we will be able to let our kids (if we’re lucky enough to have them) have their own rooms and maybe my mom will have a grown-up bed to sleep in when she visits instead of an air mattress that takes up our entire tiny living room (which we’re also lucky to have). All of those things are precious privileges that we will be extremely lucky to have in our shelter. But we have to remember that we could live, and be happy, with a lot less. (Well, I like to think I could be happy with a lot less. I’m not so sure about the hubby; he’s pretty insistent on building his kingdom before producing an heir, but that’s another story.) Some people can’t even begin to dream of owning a home. Some people can’t even begin to dream of living in a dry, cozy apartment in a super cool area of the city. (In some places, my apartment would probably be pretty luxurious, and I sometimes like to gaze up at the high, paint-chipped ceilings and imagine what it would be like to move into this apartment after living in a one-room mud hut for most of my life. That renews my gratitude without fail.) I am endlessly lucky to be able to make homeownership a reality and when I say “all I have is enough,” my intent is to remind myself of the truth of that because it so easy to get sucked into the desperation of wanting more rather than simply acknowledging that I’m lucky to have the privilege of enjoying what already is more.
If what I have now is enough — more than enough — then any material gain I obtain in the future will be just that: material gain. Because, let’s face it, obtaining more stuff doesn’t make anyone more content. There’s always more to want; there’s always more to buy. So, in order for my home to be the happy, peaceful place that I want it to be, I have to be a — gulp — happy, peaceful person. Maybe, just maybe, becoming skilled at filtering what I allow to touch my inner self will help me become that happy, peaceful person. So, for now, I’m reminding myself to be grateful for what I have, and to resist the pull of being desperate for more by clinging to my mantra: all I have is enough.
I’ll let y’all know how well the clinging goes after we’ve spent a whole day at open houses.
Chloe is a recently-married aspiring writer, lover of books, and crafter. She is a believer in the human spirit and the power of kindness, an eternal optimist, and a cat-owning dog-lover who loves her cat. Since she hasn’t figured out a way to get paid for eating fancy cheeses and documenting her ridiculous life, she practices teaching, her biggest passion in life, during her day job as a Langauge Arts and Writing teacher. She lives outside of Boston, Massachussetts with her cat and husband.
If you want to contribute to The House Always wins, please get in touch!