Life for Rent

Monday, May 10, 2010
If my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy,
well I deserve nothing more than I get
cause nothing I have is truly mine

Since graduating from college three years ago this month (May 13, 2007, to be exact) I have moved seven times.
Granted, they haven’t all been big moves (but some have): two of the moves were back to my childhood bedroom in my parents’ house. Technically, I’ve moved to my parents’ house three times in this time period, but since I spent last summer bopping around between my parents’ house on weeknights and the Shack and the cabin on my days off, I’m not sure what exactly we’re calling last summer. Living out of a suitcase?

The point is, that since graduating from college and supposedly “getting on with my life,” my life has fallen into a haphazard cycle of six-month periods that involve a different job and a different living space. All of my belongings have not all been at the same residency since I was 18. As much as great trips like the recent New York City trip can inspire me to throw away dreams of a permanent life and instead spend my life jetting off to fascinating locales, there’s a deeper part of me that’s ready for this spiral of six-month periods in my life to settle down into something a little more linear.

I am twenty-five. My plan is to heck through the world with a B.A. until a master’s degree proves necessary. So far, so good, at least when it comes to making a living with a B.A. in English. (Garrison Keller references at this point are strongly frowned down on.) Yet, I’m far enough removed from my collegiate experience to be ready for my life to settle into a more natural ebb and flow of seasons instead of being a revolving door of change. It seems as though life might be headed in that direction, but I’ll let you know how things look in six months.

I can tell you one thing, it’s high time to stop listening to NPR’s Marketplace. Every time, I happen to listen to that show, I find myself worried about paying off student loans. I wonder if I've already missed the boat on saving for retirement. I start to feel the need to be a fiscally responsible adult. Then I remember that I’m an English major.

Finances are pretty straightforward when you’re a freelance writer. Since I have no money, I manage my finances with one cardinal rule: Spend as little as possible. Whatever’s left over gets sat on. Is that for retirement? I’m not really sure. It seems like a decent idea.

Lately, Andy keeps bring up the idea of buying property before the real estate market turns around. Logically, it makes pretty decent sense. But to be honest, I find it all to terrifying, too “grown-up” to truly contemplate. (I suppose when you reach the point of needing a plant sitter for your houseplants, you’ve probably stumbled across the bridge into adulthood without knowing it.) I’d rather not deal with questions about loans and mortages. I’m even less excited to deal with the more pressing question: where do I really want to be for the foreseeable future?

Right now, I look up from my computer to stare out the window, where water laps at the lake’s shallows. If this is life for rent, things are pretty good. But that chicken coop I sometimes dream of isn’t going to materialize until I learn to buy.

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