So, I rent. We rent. I’ve always rented ever since I moved out of my parents home. FIrst, $300 a month, then $450, and now $895. That’s a lot of money I’ll never see again, but that’s the cost to avoid being stuck in one place. If I decide I want new living arrangements, a different kitchen, a garage or an entirely different city, I can up and move. But, the rent is too damn high! As Jimmy McMillan would say. Sure, I can afford it and have plenty left over for great food and a healthy savings account. But, if I had that money to put into something useful like a hobby or a place I can call my own; shouldn’t I try?
There is, of course, the dreaded MORTGAGE. Which, I’ve read is Latin for “Death Pledge”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want anything to do with something that has the word “death” in it. For some people with a career and a geographic area they want to stay in, it makes sense to invest in their own piece of land and a home. Of course, fifty years ago it was a lot easier for an average family to buy or build a nice home and have it paid off in a couple years. I’ve never much cared for debt. It’s nice always being in the black with enough money to walk out of a job if I see fit. I classify myself as a wage slave in the larger sense that I require an hourly wage to meet my basic needs and I’ll get that wage somewhere in this economy, but I don’t consider myself a slave to any particular job. So, I keep my financial responsibilities under check. If I had a mortgage and didn’t pay my bill, then they take the house and I don’t see any of my money come back. If I rent and don’t pay, they kick me out and there was never any getting my money back. To me, the difference is “how much do you want to invest in your present situation?”
Personally, I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know where I want to be in five years let alone a full mortgage term. Yet, I want to own something. I’ve grown tired of living in someone else’s dwelling. Mowing their grass, cultivating their garden soil, moving. Blast, I hate moving!
A few years ago I had extensive plans to build my own home on my own piece of land, paid for with cash. It was going to be a simple home, earthen in construction with as many low tech solutions to provide many of the comfortable amenities available to a human with the resources AND the resourcefulness to implement them cheaply financially speaking, but with a long term plan in mind. It would have been a home only suitable for us with a layout and construction that would be the embodiment of our chosen lifestyle, not to be found in any “Better Homes and Gardens”. It was my obsession, my project. I loved thinking about it. Researching various construction techniques, off grid technologies and lifestyle habits was my passion. Then, we sold two thirds of our shit and moved to Portland. Just like that, and pretty abruptly. Part of it was because the local building codes were going to make things difficult and expensive, and partly because I never felt like I fit in that community very well. I’m glad we moved, but I do miss my friends and family, even more than I thought I would. It’s been quite an experience living in the city and that is what I want, experience. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a community or group of friends I really feel part of. My fault. Hard to tell who the hell I am; I change every few years. Makes it difficult to surround yourself with like minded individuals when your mind is constantly on the run to some other perspective or reality.
So, anyhoo, living situations…
Part of moving across country was culling our personal belongings down to something manageable; not an easy thing to do when I’ve spent years collecting (hoarding really) stuff I can integrate into my planned off grid home. Now here we are, living in 600 square feet with a basement full of stuff we drove out here sitting relatively untouched for ten months. I’m sick of looking at it when I go down there. I’m sick of clutter. I’m sick of a whole room that I only sleep and change my clothes in. Wasted space. I spend most of my awake time either at work or sitting right here on this second hand couch we bought from our neighbor, reading and writing. So, why do I need all this stuff? Sure, I appreciate having good quality tools and a well stocked kitchen, but the more I think about it, the less I think I need. Some people would think 600 square feet to be rather small. I think it’s too damn big.