Turbulence on Reentry

We’ve been home now for two weeks, and it’s been… hard.

Getting back into the swing of the real world after spending so long in pretendy-world land is always difficult, but I think I’ve had some added complications which have only made things more difficult. Part of that is because of work, which has been stressful in an abstract, emotional way rather than an overwork kind of way. I don’t deal well with uncertainty, and since getting back I’ve had a lot of that to deal with. Politics, man; they’re only fun when there’s a disconnect between you and them.

Another part of it is my increasing frustration with where we live. We’ve been in the same apartment for four years, now; in another six weeks we’ll sign the lease for a fifth. Half of our relationship (holy shit, I guess we really are coming up towards eight years) has been spent in this place, and that’s not inconsiderable.

It’s a nice apartment. It’s big, and it has a spectacular view out over the city. But the kitchen is tiny and the oven is awful, and I am increasingly tired of having to ask permission to hang pictures on the walls, deal with six monthly inspections where we get told off for not dusting the cistern of the toilet, and – well, the list goes on.

I think we’re increasingly in that point in our lives where we want to start, bit by bit, putting together rooms that are exactly the way we want them, with exactly the right furniture and decor and arrangement. We could start doing that, in some ways, but it’s hard to plan a room if you don’t know whether you’ll be using the same room in twelve months time. We can’t hang our own curtains, or put up different blinds, or replace the oven.

I’ve wanted to buy a place for a while now, and I think Rohan is finally on the same page as me. Obviously, we’re not going to be able to run out and redecorate and buy new furniture instantly, if we manage to buy, but it’d be a long-term project with achievable goals. I suspect both pairs of itchy feet would be soothed.

Of course, it’s not quite that easy. The property market in Sydney is well overpriced, and the area we want to live in is not exactly on the cheap end of that. I earn good money, and Rohan is well-paid for what he does despite averaging a lot less billable hours, but neither of us really wants to spend half our net income on a mortgage. The real trick, then, is to manage to do this without having to lose too much of our lifestyle in the process. It’s a tricky balance, but I think we can do it.

A lot of the really nice places in this area are out of our price range – but there’s a lot that I think is potentially doable. Whatever we end up with won’t be a forever-house, but it’ll be stable. It’ll most likely be a two bedroom unit, probably in the Gore Hill/Greenwich area which is just slightly cheaper than Wollstonecraft/Crows Nest. It will have an internal laundry (that’s non-negotiable in our book), and gas (it would take a lot for us to give up on that). And for the rest… we’ll see.

So that’s what the next twelve months will be focused on. In August next year, we’ll take a really close look at our finances and see if it really is feasible (unless prices go up excessively between now and then, I’m pretty sure the answer will be yes), and then… well. Take the plunge, I guess.

I feel better, resigning our lease, feeling (relatively) confident that it will be our last one. And in the meantime – every time I reach for my credit card to buy that new pair of shoes, or that cute dress, or whatever it is, I’ll hopefully be able to give it a bit more thought. Do I really need it? Is that money better off sitting in my savings account until it can be used as a deposit? Hopefully, having more concrete plans will make that easier to stick to. It’s not that I can’t spend money on more frivolous things; I just need to think seriously about it first.

Because a place that is ours, with all the attendant headaches, will definitely be worth it.

In the meantime, I will stare at real estate advertisements, and, in particular, at floorplans. What is it about floorplans that are so much fun? They make me happy.

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