If you asked me five years ago where I would be living today, I don't think I would've said "the suburbs". Taking a girl out of the city was surprisingly easy, but setting roots into your own property is becoming a near impossible goal for millennials.
A Track Record for Movement
With the new year upon us, I have found myself reflecting over major life events in the past decade. I have successfully completed two postgraduate degrees, landed an amazing job in my field of work, found the love of my life, and brought a new fur baby into our family. Throughout all of the joy and excitement I have been able to experience, there is something I can't help but notice over the previous decade: I have a tendency to hop around from house-to-house. Over ten years I have moved a total of six times and have not lived in a single place longer than three years. A lot of these moves can be quickly accounted for due to educational purposes, some for scenery changes, and the most recent one to gain more space.
Do I enjoy moving around? Not really. I am someone who is quite attached to my surroundings which makes it rather difficult to detach during a move. On the other hand I am able to make myself feel at home in new places very quickly, so I guess it evens out a little bit. Up to this point I have never owned property. Perhaps in knowing I'm just a renter also helps a smidgen when it comes to moving onwards because nothing has truly felt permanent. There has always been that sense of a clock ticking away before the boxes reappeared from the closet.
Our Last Move
Five years ago I made a resolution to focus on myself and do what made me happy. I was living back at home and was working at a job that was not related to what I had studied in school. I started off the year with wanting to go back to school to obtain my Master's degree. I put my eggs into a couple baskets and sent out my applications. That spring I got the amazing news that I had been accepted into the program closest to home. I began searching for a place closer to the university so my commute would be short. Of course I could've lived at home with my parents to save money - - but this year was supposed to be all about me so naturally paying an arm and leg for the skyline view in the city was the best option. That 600 square foot cube up in the clouds instantly became my home and I absolutely loved it. I really liked the neighbourhood and how close I was to friends, food, entertainment, and (oh right...) school.
Skip to one and a half years later and my boyfriend had fully moved into my bachelorette studio making the square footage much more noticeable. I'm surprised we made that space work for as long as we did. Personally, I didn't mind the lack of personal space as much as it bothered him. The location to me was the meat and potatoes of life and that's all that really mattered. I was still walking distance to school, and eventually work. I could walk to the grocery store to pick up fresh produce every day. We were steps away from the lakeshore. It was just right on the outside!
Inside though was a different situation. Both of us had to keep most of our personal items at our parents' houses because there was literally no storage. Unfortunately it got to a point where any time we spoke about the space we would end up in an argument. He hated his commute and really didn't like the feeling of living on top of one another. It took me a while to come to terms that the city just wasn't right for us as a couple. Sure it was perfect when I was focused on me and the 600 square foot cube only needed to house feminine belongings. I had to let reality hit that this simply wasn't my life anymore, nor was it a life I wanted back. I was moving forward full of love and needed to let go of the smaller pieces of the past.
Finding our next home was quite easy once I agreed with the move. He worked outside of the city so we found common ground between our offices in the suburbs. The first time we went out to see a few rentals we came across the humble abode we currently call home. I feel especially attached to this place now because we found it and moved in together as a couple. It is an equal piece of both of us - something the condo in the city would've never been. We have lived in our current place now for two years this spring.
Preparing for the Next Move
After moving into our new home, my boyfriend took me on a trip to remember and proposed to me on the top of the Eiffel Tower. To hear the whole story go check out my blog Destination: Engagement. Our wedding date has been set for in the summer of 2020 and we couldn't be more excited for the big day. Knowing that I will be trading in my "Miss" for a "Mrs" definitely gets the mind thinking about what the next big milestone will be for us as a couple. I can envision more doggies coming in our future, but perhaps the time is nearing where we'd want some human babies in the mix too.
Wedding, marriage, dogs, and talk of babies - time to set some roots, right?
It's interesting thinking about how our last (and first) move as a couple was an acknowledgement that a chapter in our lives was closing as another opened. Handing in my keys and fob for my condo was a very empowering moment. I remember being so happy picking them up back in 2015 as I was organizing the movers to take my belongings to the city. Three years later, despite all of the great memories I made in the city, I was so ready and excited to say goodbye to those items on my keychain. Moments later, I was putting my new metal keys on the chain.
Here we are again at similar crossroads; ready to close the door to our current home and accept the keys to the next.
Fantasy vs Reality
For those that know anything about the real estate market in the GTA knows exactly where I am going next.
I have always had the dream to buy a piece of land and design my fantasy home. A big kitchen, large great room with a tall fireplace and built-ins, a walk-out to a beautifully landscaped patio...the list goes on. Cue the reality check - houses and land are expensive! It seems like as much as we monitor the market, we can never find the right formula to make everything come true. I think it's safe to say the dream home can wait for awhile and while we take step one and focus on purchasing a home.
Buying a house without all of the bells and whistles still seems so far away to grasp. There seems to be no such thing as a starter home anymore. The double-egded sword with renting right now too is that we are paying someone else's mortgage, yet we can barely save for our own downpayment. Something my in-laws told me, though, has never felt so true. You can wait as long as you want for the timing to be right, but most of the time you just need to take a leap of faith. So right now I am learning to be comfortable with another unknown just like when I was preparing to move to the suburbs two years ago. It may not feel 100% sorted out, but I know I am ready for the next step and acknowledge where I am now is somewhere that I am ready to move on from. I think I'm ready to make my home feel more permanent by being the owner.
Wedding first, then house...wish us luck!