For Sale: Someone Else’s American Dream
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
—Henry David Thoreau
Today, we put our home on the market. A few of my colleagues who saw the listing were wowed by the photos and told me I was nuts to be selling it.
Okay, it is an amazing home. We loved it when we first saw it. We still do.
But a little while ago, Mauricio and I decided that, in fact, we were nuts to be living here. We had bought into the American Dream of owning our own home. It didn’t hurt that it was in a fabulous neighborhood with great schools, a street that gets closed for trick-or-treating and block parties, and wonderful neighbors with lots of kids.
But did we really own it? At a certain point, we realized that we were mere part owners together with the bank. Very small part owners, at that. I would be 75 when I actually got around to owning all of it.
I came across that quote from Thoreau about the true price of anything being the amount of life you exchange for it. And it hit me like a brick. Or a redwood beam, as the case may be. I didn’t want to exchange the next 30 years of my life for it.
When we moved in, the plan was to keep up our dual incomes and send the kids to the great public schools we had just bought into. But after two months in kindergarten, we started homeschooling (another story for another time), and have never looked back.
Now, not tied to schools, we’ve been asking ourselves, “What’s our American Dream?”
The answer turns out to be living as full owners of a 10-acre piece of picturesque property with a natural spring, rolling hills and a pond. Mind you, this is clearly not everyone’s dream. It’s up a dirt road in the boonies with no water, electricity or sewer. It’s RV living for a while until we can build and pay cash as we go. And it’s our dream.
Stay tuned. Today, the Great Escobar Adventure officially begins.
Anybody wanna buy a really nice house?