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Buying My First Home Has Taught Me That I’m Not Always Excellent At Life

September 7th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
Female hand reaching for a house isolated on a white background.

Being an agile life leopard requires more than getting your oil changed on time.

As an adult I’ve been living for years under the embarrassingly wrong-headed (but kind of adorable) assumption that I’m decent at life. Not great, mind you, but I’ve got the swing of things. Routine and practice has insidiously bred false confidence. I totally have checking email, getting my oil changed, and setting up online banking accounts down. I am queen of the universe!

As a child and uber sulky teenager, I was constantly faced with new experiences that reminded me quite clearly that I was not an agile life leopard. I remember, all too clearly, misaligning my car the first time I tried to enter an automatic car wash, desperately feeding empty envelopes into the ATM because it was making a whirrrring noise (note: Banks are really unhappy if you feed blank envelopes into the ATM), and nearly hyperventilating when trying to navigate the Atlanta airport alone on my first business trip.

At this point in my life, I feel like I “get it.” I don’t mean to humble brag, but I’ve got a few good crock pot recipes up my sleeve, have managed to automate about 90% of my online bill pay, and I even paid my taxes two weeks before the deadline this year. So you can see where all the false confidence starts seeping in, right?

But recently I embarked on a strange and perilous journey filled with frustration, maddening costs labeled “Document Signing Fee to Escrow,” and forced inner reflection. I am buying my first home.

And guess what? Turns out that I’m not as awesome at life as I thought.

My whole house buying issue is really about the fact that I don’t actually know how to make such a big decision. When my real estate agent opens up a door, I wander in trying to look confident as I glance at empty rooms and wonder, what am I supposed to feel? My agent will point to towards the ceiling and chirp about crown molding, and I’ll nod like, of course I totally know what that is and care deeply about it.

This is going to be the biggest purchase I make to date in my life. It’s going to turn into the place where I write, where I sleep, where I wonder important things like – how can sea water really be bad for you when our bodies need both water and salt? (Seriously, think about it.) A considerable chunk of the hours I work will go towards keeping this house in my possession. I will voluntarily agree to pay property tax, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance, and an insane amount of interest along the way.

All of these thoughts keep playing in my mind as I wander from house to house thinking, How will I know it’s the one? Will a little bell go off somewhere in my brain? Please let there be some kind of internal perfect house-within-my-budget bell in my brain.  

One upside to this whole house hunting experience is that it has lodged me out of my usual comfort zone. The queen of the universe has retired her crown…at least for now! I think that’s a good thing.

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