“I’m as free as a bird now…and this bird, she will not change.”
Yep, I’m quoting Freebird. Or Free-biiiird!, which is probably how we all say it aloud in our minds. I’ve been playing that song in my head like bad air guitar ever since last week, when I received word that my house – no, not the one in Seattle, not the one in DC, the one in Philly, and yes, I know it’s confusing – finally sold.
I could talk about the market and depreciation and how the housing bubble sold us all a bill of goods, but that’s not why my heart leaped a few hundred times after the sale went through. You see, I’ve realized that I’m a quasi-Nomad, and home ownership doesn’t do it for me in the way that I’ve been told it should.
Admitting your problem is half the battle, right? Even when what you truly want goes against the advice of financial professionals and Money magazine and what constitutes the trappings of an adult life. And what I want to do – what I dream of doing until I’m too old to do no longer – is spending significant amounts of time in cool cities around the world….and then leaving for the next one.
It’s not rational, really. And I’m not this flighty about the other things in my life. I love one man. I’ve known my best friend since second grade. I talk to my parents several times a week. I own pets and furniture and even crystal, for God’s sake. No, not flighty.
But yet, evidence that I’m a flight risk is all around me. I’ve lived in 10 states and several countries; most Americans live in 3 or less. I have three favorite sports teams, each from a different city. I’ve followed jobs and followed men and followed dreams that did and didn’t pan out. And I know that I’m nowhere near done.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to throw on a backpack and hit the road. I read all kinds of travel blogs about people who do just that, and while I find their stories entertaining and enlightening, I’ve been there, done that, and have no desire to do it again.
The quasi-nomad doesn’t skim, she burrows. I’ve gone deep on the cities I’ve loved, figuring out what makes them tick and why the people there behave the way they do. I’ve made close friends, the kind that you keep long after you’ve left their immediate orbit. But no matter how much I’ve felt part of a community, an even bigger part of me wants to leave that circle behind and see what’s over the hill.
Buying a home doesn’t make sense for me. Er, us, as I’ve picked up a husband since the last time I bought a place. He wasn’t in the picture when I bought my Philadelphia rowhouse back in 2003, and even if he was, I probably would have purchased it without him anyway. That’s a bit how I was back then – a little more headstrong, a little more absolute in where life was going. I spied the For Sale sign on 919 Christian from the Italian Market brunch hotspot across the street and thought, Wouldn’t it be cool to live THERE?
And so I did. I bought a house that was over 100 years old. Which means I tackled plumbing and installed air conditioning (well, I didn’t install it, I hired people who did) and replaced sub-flooring and handled lots of other crazy ass chores. I can tell you an inordinate amount about replacing sewer pipes. Or dealing with boilers. Or repointing bricks. God, repointing bricks sucks. I hope you never have to do it.
And that’s just it. I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to enjoy my life in Seattle knowing that we can change it at any time, that we can pursue opportunities and keep our options open. Luckily, Don feels the same way. We’ve spent most of our marriage fixing up houses to rent or sell, and we’re ready for a break. One where someone handles the the problems.
In the meantime, we’ve nested quite nicely in our rental home, and just signed a lease for another year. It helps that we found a place with a view to die for. Seriously, it’s ridic. Come visit us and see.
Yet even as I drink my lattes and stare at the Olympic Mountains and watch the sun set over Puget Sound, I know that our time in Seattle won’t last forever. And maybe for this quasi-nomad, that’s what makes it seem all the sweeter.