I love to plan. Seriously, I love, love, love to plan. I plan for every contingency I can think of (no matter how unforeseeable); I plan for other people; and every so often I make fake plans (it’s fun to pretend that you just wrote a book-selling novel, received a million dollars, and then make a plan for what to do next). Perhaps that says something weird about me (almost assuredly it does). All I know is that—and to this, Tanner will attest—I tend to get far, far too upset when there is no plan, and when I don’t know what’s happening next.
That being said, for at least two years now, I’ve had this year (the year in which we’re currently in the middle of) perfectly planned. We would graduate in May, take the Bar in July, get married in August, rent an apartment in Baltimore for one year, starting at the end of August, find a house in the interim, buy said house, settle and then later that day, move into the house on the very same day the apartment lease ended.
All has not gone according to plan. Things were going well until November and December, when—in order to plan ahead—I started researching “how to buy a house,” the trajectory of interest rates, and the housing market in Baltimore. It concerned me that summertime—which is when I always assumed we would find and buy a house—is considered the worst time to buy a house. Interest rates, even more concerning, seemed poised to suddenly drastically rise. Also alarming was the realization that the Baltimore housing market seemed, at best, sketchy and unpredictable. Moreover, plenty of housing experts said it would take at least six months of searching to find a house. We considered all the factors and decided to start exploring in January, still assuming it would take us until the summer to find the house.
But then we found a house. And while all is not completely perfect with it, it is wonderful (and we never expected our first house to be perfect, anyway). Many things contributed to our pursuing the house: the quality of the house itself (there are four bedrooms! There’s a huge, gorgeous living room! There are skylights!), the rising interest rates (the higher they go, the more expensive it is to get a mortgage), the fact that all the other comparable houses were thousands upon thousands of dollars more expensive, and those creeping, looming summer months. So, we bought it (at least we will if the inspection goes well). We’re very glad we are doing so. It is a beautiful house, and we can’t wait to move in.
But we are wildly deviating from our original plan. Amidst my happiness and excitement over setting up our very own house, I’m very sad about giving up our full year in our apartment. Because, while not the most conventional of apartments, it beautifully serves our needs. We’ve gotten used to the extreme shaking that occurs every night, making the windows vibrate and rumble like constant thunder; we’ve accepted the fact that only 2 of the 4 burners on the stove will ever work; and we know that running the dishwasher is quite entirely useless. There’s something incredibly wonderful about the fact that we could light the entire family room, kitchen, and dining room with just one lamp (if Tanner wouldn’t complain whenever I attempt to do so, that is). Everything we need is safely and cozily ensconced in approximately a four second walk from wherever I am currently standing in the apartment. It’s lovely to be able to throw out garbage down a shoot at the end of the hall and forget about it. It’s convenient to simply call the maintenance man at the first hint of a problem (even if he rarely comes). Our energy bills will never, ever be lower (never ever).
(There’s also the issue of packing everything up and moving, yet again, which I’m not excited about one bit. Had we known we were moving out so quickly, I don’t think we would have been quite so exuberant about unpacking and decorating.)
It’s not just sadness about leaving the apartment, though; it’s sadness about giving up the image of living in this pseudo-world between school and work and being not grown-up and being grown-up in your first apartment. Even if you have a real job, if you’re living in a city apartment, and not paying many bills, and sort of pretending you’re still in school, you’re not a grown-up. But once you buy a house, I think that façade quickly dies away. And growing up right now was not in the plan.
The thing about plans, though, is that they are completely revisable. Our original plan has simply been supplanted by a new plan. My sadness at losing the first plan is tempered by the knowledge that while it’s mostly sad to move on, this moving on doesn’t have to be sad! After all, when all is said and done, the only thing we’re really losing is the four walls surrounding us. Everything else comes with. We’re moving on, together! All of the patterns, routines, and habits we’ve developed in the apartment will be with us in the house. Just because it’s bigger, doesn’t mean that we need to inhabit more space. And, frankly, I think it’s hard to consider yourself a grownup when you’re living in a house that has furniture in only one of four bedrooms.* Right?
I am full of new plans. Just so you know, several of them involve painting the wall in the family room (currently a dour dark brown) a light sage green—a color Martha Stewart swears brings in the light. I’ve read that painting very large, tall structures is a most enjoyable way to pass the time. We’re very much looking forward to it. Let us know if you want to help.
*Tanner thinks I should explain what I mean. We currently have enough furniture to fill a very, very small family room, kitchen, and very small bedroom. I see no need to immediately change this. After all, buying a house does not mean that you then need to fill the house. There is absolutely nothing wrong with closing off—and keeping empty—several rooms and an entire floor until they come in handy.