Most children, if asked to draw the house they’ll live in as an adult, will sketch a home resembling a bloated Graceland or Cinderella’s castle. A rare child might draw something akin to Skylab, but rarely will you see a home that is an apartment or small cottage. Kids dream big, and they almost always want yards, trees, and all the amenities of a suburban mansion.
Many of us then have a difficult time altering that vision of our future home as we get older. We think that by the time we’re 30, we should have a house, a big yard, two cars, and a beautiful family to go along with all of it. So, we go to work and earn as much money as possible to make it all possible, but may never stop to ask our adult self if this childhood fantasy is really what we want.
These things might actually be what you desire. And, if you’ve taken the time to evaluate all your options and concluded this is the perfect path for you, then I think that is amazing.
It’s not such an amazing path, however, if you’re stumbling into this way of living because you’ve never questioned the dreams of eight-year-old you. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I realized I didn’t want the big house and all of the responsibilities that go with it. And, even now, I occasionally find myself looking at the large, beautiful homes for sale in our neighborhood and fantasize about owning them.
But unless you make enough money to pay someone else to mow your lawn, a large house on a big lot means a minimum two hours of yard work each week during the spring, summer, and fall. Home ownership also means cleaning gutters, paying for home owner’s insurance, and replacing appliances when they die and windows when they break. The more square footage you have in a home, the more you have to pay in taxes, to clean, to heat and cool, and to protect from disasters and thieves.
Houses take considerable time and money to maintain, and choosing to buy one should be a truly soul-searching experience.
I’ve learned to look at the big, beautiful homes for sale in our neighborhood and appreciate that they exist, but know I don’t have the real desire to live in one and take care of it. I like that my tiny backyard is a brick patio. I like that I only have two toilets to clean. I also like that we never had to install a baby monitor because there isn’t anywhere in the house we can go and not hear our son cry (or sigh or giggle).
I’m not saying that one way of living is better than another, I’m simply saying that a big home and all of its responsibilities are not for me. I’d like to encourage you to take a few moments and decide if the dream home you’re pursuing or currently maintaining is really your dream. It might be. But if it’s not, I hope you are able to figure out what really is.