[edited 3/21/07 because I realized that my original language came off as much harsher than I intended here. I’ve replaced the word "resent" with "jealous" because that really is my issue, and not anyone else’s]
I’ve had a lot of people in my community ask why we are working on moving this summer. I don’t have any simple answers. The bottom line is it all comes down to quality of life. We live in one of the most expensive communities in America, smack dab in the center of Silicon Valley. If we wanted to buy a tear-down on a teeny plot it would run us a cool million — yes, $1,000,000. I think that’s a lot of money.
Since the dot.com bust hit us hard six years ago we’ve rented in the least expensive apartment complex in our community. We have squashed our family of five (plus two dogs, and a cat) into a 900 square foot, two bedroom, one bath shoebox. We pretend the sound of cars whizzing past on the highway are actually waves on the ocean. Apartments like ours (with 30 year-old appliances) are selling for just under half a mil.
Our children are in the best school I could imagine for them, and it’s a public school. They have wonderful teachers, and friends who are caring and thoughtful. There is no bullying at the school, and no lock-outs. I hate that I’m kind of jealous all the lovely, interesting, and socially conscious friends I’ve made here. I’m jealous of their remodels, their landscaped gardens. I’m jealous of how easy life has been for them — or at least appears to be. This is not the person I used to be. And it’s not the person I choose to be.
So. We’re going to buy my Mom’s house a couple hours out from NYC. We’ll hang a swing, and a hammock or two. Plant an apple tree, and a kitchen garden. We’ll make raspberry jam from berries that have grown on vines I planted thirty years ago. We’ll paint the walls any color we like, even if we decide that we like white.
We’ll still need to pay a mortgage every month, plan for college, retirement, and life’s little emergencies (or braces). But at least we’ll do it on our terms, and those will be accessible goals rather than a pipe dream.