Lately I've been having a hard time. I hate to admit it, but I'm envious of everyone around me that seems to be having kids, buying houses, buying cars and going on trips. I feel like I never have anything fun to share and I can't understand how everyone can afford the luxuries that we can't. I feel like they all make so much more money than me, or have their parents to fall back on, even when I know that the truth is that most people are simply financing these things.
There was a time when I was so afraid I would never be married and today I sit married to my best friend, with a great job, and financial security. So why do I feel down? I'm ashamed to admit that but it's the truth.
Last weekend when we were talking about buying a house and it was looking like it wasn't the right option for us, I blamed my husband's job for our predicament. We would have to move for him to switch employers and I was really wishing that he had a more traditional job where you can live in a city your whole life and have numerous employment opportunities at your finger tips.
But then I realized that his job wasn't to blame. He has many coworkers who have purchased homes. In fact, he has coworkers supporting families as the sole breadwinner, making far less than we do, who have purchased homes. And then it hit me - we know too much.
The recession felt very personal to me. My father lost his job (the only time in my life he was unemployed), my family struggled a lot, and it felt very scary to me. I still have family members feeling the after affects - not being able to sell their homes, and I know just how devastating money worries can be.
Before that recession, and my own financial transformation I lived in blissful ignorance. I planned future trips, thought about my next car to buy and the next piece I would add to my wardrobe, with intense excitement. I would think about how much fun I would have, how impressed people would be, and how wonderful I would look. Essentially, I thought about how happy I would be once I purchased the next item on my list.
Of course true happiness was always barely out of reach, but the hopeful possibility sustained me. And to be honest, I miss that. I miss the way I used to blindly dive into my next set of plans. I did so with wild abandon and purpose. And now each decision is weighed heavily and it seems can never truly be joyful.
While I know that a home would provide a nice environment for our future children, and I am excited about the idea of making it our home, the worry tends to overpower it.
What if we find the home isn't right for us for some reason and can't sell it? What if we wind up having to pay a ton for repairs? What if my husband gets a job in another city and we're trapped in this one? What if the basement floods? What if the property taxes go up? What if we lose all our money in the market and we have too much tied up in our home?
In reality, I think this is probably a sign that I've grown up a bit. That I can see both sides of the coin, and evaluate the pros and cons. But I'm mourning my old self that used to be able to be giddy about large changes without worrying about the negatives. I miss throwing myself into a choice with wild abandon, but I also know that I was only able to do that because I had so little to lose.
I now have assets, a family, and a future to protect and I need to consider those with each change we make.
But at times it sure would be nice to act now and think later.