Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dream House

On my favorite medical transcription site, there is a discussion around this question: "If money were no object, what would you change about your house?" In other words, what would describe your dream house?

The interesting part of this discussion is that everyone's idea of her dream house is partly dependent on what stage of life she finds herself in. After I posted some pictures of our Victorian house, some posters unequivocably stated this house would be their dream house. Yet, our dream house is not anything like this one, at this time. There are a myriad of dream houses out there. (And, for some Katrinia victims, any viable house would be a dream house for them.)

There are a lot of magazine articles out there about Baby Boomers and their life challenges and opportunities. In my reading, I notice that there are some Boomers who are experiencing the empty nest and are downsizing, as we are. There are others who never want to get out of the race for accumulation. These people think that having less is not more and that the journey of upward mobility never ends. To them, it is a sign of failure if their next car is smaller or less expensive than their present one, or if their next house is not as ostentatious or in as wealthy a neighborhood as the one where they live now. This, of course, may be due in part to our society's insistence on labeling the worth of individuals based on their financial wealth and quantity/quality of possessions - after all, you could be extremely rich, but how would people know that unless your house, car, and clothes reveal your status to the world?

It's all in timing, I have discovered. This beautiful Victorian was our dream house when we bought it. We had 2 teenagers (and one live-in guest), and after all the tiny parsonages we had lived in, we were ectastic to be here.

But as we journeyed on, our situation changed. As our family has gotten smaller, it seems the house has gotten bigger. (Ed, who has lost 30 pounds in the last few years, definitely feels that he has gotten smaller and the house has gotten bigger!) Our needs change, and we adjust.

In the same way that financial experts advise you to take time every few years to reevaluate your investments, your insurance needs, and your financial changes, I think it is worthwhile to stop and evaluate your lifestyle options. Think about your priorities. Think about the hidden costs (not always financial) of your chosen lifestyle. Choose your path with integrity and thoughtfulness, not letting "the world" decide who you are. It may be that you need a smaller house, it may be that you need to use less of the world's resources, it may be that you need to spend more time with your family and less time at the office, it may be that you don't need that new item of clothing as much as you thought you did.

However, if, like our family in 1996 when we moved to Maine, you have several children who need plenty of room to hang out, or you need space for family and friends to visit - well, in that case, this is your dream house. Call our agent, Venise, ASAP!

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