I recently heard (or read) that today’s young adults have little interest in home ownership. One reason given had a lot to do with the economy (which is understandable). The other reason is the desire to be mobile, i.e., not tied to a structure or a place. This, sadly, is also the result of a poor, lethargic economy. If you buy a house today, there is no telling if, or when, you will be able to sell it and move on, if the proverbial “brass ring” presents itself.
My first reaction was incredulity! Yes, I am a mature American, but I am no stranger to hardship. When I graduated from college in 1971, there were very few jobs to apply for. Adding to the frustration was my liberal arts background (a major in English with a minor in art). In other words, in today’s vernacular, I had a “do you want fries with that?” degree. In the early ‘70s, I remember sitting in long gas lines, and being told to “put another sweater on”, instead of inching the thermostat up another degree or two! Those were not happy or even hopeful years. But no amount of financial difficulty, or discouragement about the future, could quell my desire for the thing I wanted most: a family of my own, and a lovely home, in which we could all dwell “happiIy ever after”.
My first husband and I purchased our first house, in Connecticut in 1975, for $45,000! It was a tri-level fixer-upper. In retrospect, it was a cute little starter home, but to me it was a palace! I made every designing mistake that a newbie decorator makes: every room was a different bright color, every room had a different bright color carpet (so if you stood in the upstairs hallway, where the bedrooms were located, it looked like a Twister game board!), and the paneling I chose for the kitchen was dark, and so shiny, you could see your reflection in it. Naturally, we thought it was beautiful, and apparently, so did the people who purchased it the day after it went on the market!
Since then, I have lived in Lewisville, Texas (where daughter Jennifer was born); Marietta, GA; Nashua, New Hampshire (when I was newly divorced); Tennessee (Knoxville, where Greg & I were married, & Memphis); Charlotte, NC (we owned 3 homes there!); and then back to Atlanta (this time within the city limits). And finally, we are now here in Ellijay, GA (where I will be carried out with my boots on!). For each move, a different dwelling was purchased. Notice, I did not say “home”, for it turns out that not every house we lived in felt like home. In my experience, there are homes that embrace you in a big bear hug the minute you walk in the front door. They are the ones that make you smile each time you pull into your driveway. Such was the case with our residences in Knoxville, Memphis, Atlanta, & to some extent, Ellijay. The others were places we unpacked our belongings into, and lived, until it was time to move on.
Our current HOME, in Ellijay, was a purchase of necessity. It had everything we needed, space-wise, for my Dad to be comfortable, and to provide Greg & me with the privacy and seclusion that we need. It was not love at first sight (although I could see the possibilities during our first viewing!), but with time, lots of money, and a ton of (sometimes back-breaking) elbow grease, it definitely is now our forever HOME
For the sake of our current generation of young adults, I hope the economy improves, so they can know the joy of homeownership. Home is a blank slate where creativity can take wing and fly. Everybody needs the freedom to crank up the volume (& bass) on their music source without fear of recrimination, and have the opportunity to paint their walls any hue from hot pink to black, without answering to the decorating police. But most of all, I would love for them to feel the contentment, peace, and joy that owning a little bit of heaven can bring.
Below are two free printables that I created that really express how important HOME is to me. (Please link back to this blog if you choose to use them publicly!)
Hope you love them as much as I do!