I Bought A House!

Well, an apartment in a co-op building, anyway. The contract is signed, funding procured. In a month, it will be done. 

I’m excited about it, or I feel like I should be excited about it. Isn’t that what people do? They save for a really long time and then buy their “forever home”?


Instead, I’m more nervous than anything else. A little bit about the money. I’ve dipped into my what-if-I-lose-my-job fund, and it is by far the biggest investment I will ever make. It took a long time to save that much, and it was always a comfort that I would be able to afford most of my life should the worst happen. But I think my anxiety over money will ease once I settle into my monthly payments and figure out what my adjusted financial reality is. 

The larger part of my anxiety is the commitment part. I am a notorious commitment-phobe, and this is the most permanent thing I have ever done. The loan will be for 30 years. I know I can always move before it’s paid off, but it’s the kind of process I would only initiate if there were no other choice. Knowing that much about myself, I am basically settling in for three decades.

I don’t even like reading that. For the big things in life I have always built in a release valve. I leased my car for 10 years before I bought it. I live in apartments that transition to month-to-month leases after a year or two, and my relationships are short enough that one of my friends once dubbed me the “love ‘em and leave ‘em girl”. Even my job – government consultant – involves moving from client to client every year or two.

I suspect that much of my commitment phobia has to do with two things. 

First, the people I lost when I was young. Not just my mother – I was already 24 when that happened – and other family members, but a surrogate grandfather when I was 10. They told me he would be ok after a heart attack, but he didn’t leave the hospital alive. And a close classmate when I was 13. He was killed by a drunk driver over Christmas break. If my own brush with death by way of meningitis wasn’t enough to communicate the impermanence of life, then losing them surely was.

Second, there is the psychology of living with chronic and autoimmune conditions. For a long time, when my conditions were developing, it seemed like every time we got through one crisis, there was another one to take its place. It’s exhausting and leaves no time for much else, and makes it nearly impossible to plan. Sometimes I have nightmares about that very common interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” My inclination was always to answer “Alive?” I don’t think prospective employers would have found that as funny as I did. And just forget the follow up, 10 years.

The good news is my brain is actually helping with the anxiety for once. Instead of overthinking myself into paralysis, I am using logic to temper my instinct to run away from commitment. My brain knows that it would be a huge advantage to pay off a permanent home by retirement, and practicality is slowly gaining ground. I am hoping it will continue until the down payment and closing costs have been paid and I no longer have a choice. I think then I will finally be able to relax.

Four weeks to go.

And then I’ll have a house. (Well, an apartment in a co-op building, anyway.)