Seriously. I don’t actually know how a mortgage works. All I know is that when you buy a house, you get this thing called a mortgage, and you spend a decent amount of your life trying to pay it off (which, honestly, sounds like a nightmare to me).
But before anyone tries to correct me or educate me on how a mortgage works, I should be clear… I’m really not that interested in how a mortgage works.
I’m not even interested in owning a house.
And that’s kind of the point of this whole article.
Just because I am now in my twenties and trying to establish some sort of career for myself, does that mean that I am automatically supposed to feel the urge to own my own home? Because I don’t. And I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with me? Am I a bit behind on the times? Have I not matured into the world of financial assets and all that sort of jargon? Or am I just far too comfortable living in the comfort of my mum and dad’s home with my two cats?
I can recall conversations with school friends in the later years of high school that seemed to always include the following proclamation: “When I start working, I’m going to save up, buy a house, and go travelling. That way I can come back and have a family when I’m still kind of young.” Even I said this at one point! (Hilarious really, because back then I had no idea what I wanted to be and no idea what it would mean to own a home… I just figured once I was in my twenties my life would magically come together. Ha!)
But now, as I embark on my career, I’m starting to feel that almighty pressure on my shoulders again — that pressure to make some serious life decisions. Do I stay in the same town I’ve lived in all my life? Save money and then go travelling? Maybe buy a house first and rent it out to someone? Or do I just live life on a whim: pack my bags, take with me my degree and the limited amount of life experience I have, and disappear to another country for a few years? Whilst the second option sounds far more exciting, I can’t seem to grasp the idea of literally just getting up and going with a limited amount of savings and no knowledge whatsoever about the big wide world. “Wanderlust” — it just isn’t me. I’m more of the “write a list and stay in the nice hotels” type.
So then there’s the first option, which brings me back to the house dilemma.
It seems these days that half of my friends are either close to, or have already, bought their own home. And for those who have — kudos to you! (I seriously admire your ability to figure out what you want and to go out and get it). Unfortunately, I’m not so lucky.
Perhaps with some further investigation into what it is to own your own home, I might actually be able to make some kind of decision. But for now, I’m left pondering: What is the big appeal of owning a home so early in life? And just how bad is it going to be for my future if I don’t worry about this for another few years? Is it weird that this just isn’t a priority for me?
Twenty or thirty years ago, I think being in your twenties meant everyone expected you to buy your own home and start building your life around it. But now, I think there’s a little more room for movement. There are less expectations and more encouragement to build a life that makes you happy, not a life that makes you feel accepted. And ultimately, that’s all I’m trying to do (emphasis on trying).
I suppose this is just another example of not having my sh** together. And I’m almost certain I’m not the only one. I wish that I could end this with an in-depth paragraph of enlightening advice to others who are in my position, but, unfortunately, all I have is this: a quote from Holden Desalles. It’s not specifically about owning your first home or any of those kinds of milestones, but to me it’s about not restricting yourself just because you think it’s time to set your life in stone.
“Your 20s are not by default the only time in your life that you can pick up and go, or that you can try out different careers. The space where comfort and risk come together is a space where learning and growing are most likely to happen. If you get set in your ways and become unsatisfied but comfortable, you’ll never learn anything different unless you’re willing to put yourself in a scary position.” –Holden Desalles
Reassuring, isn’t it? That our twenties isn’t the only stage of our life that we can do good for ourselves.
And as for the whole “travelling vs. investing” saga… well, all I can say is: Go with your gut instinct and make the right choice for you.