I’ve moved. Hopefully for the last time in my entire life. This move (if I have counted correctly) makes 26 times I have packed myself up and perambulated to a new location. In all my nearly 50 years that makes about 1 move every 2 years. Considering that for the first 17 years of my life I only moved twice (both were before age 6), that makes 24 moves in 30+ years. Some of them were twice in one year. It got to a point that I quit even buying new things that I would have to move. I just went through things and chucked out stuff about once a year or so in order to be able to move cheaply. Everything went into tubs and boxes. There was little that needed more than a mini-van or a box van for me to move. Did I have a bed to sleep in? Check. Did I have clothes to wear? Check. Everything else was negotiable.
I’m tired of boxes. I’m tired of never really getting settled down. This time I am putting down roots and throwing away boxes. I am looking at painting walls, putting up permanent shelves, getting furniture that will last 30 years, and creating a home, a real home. Not just a space I happen to live in for the nonce.
These days its harder and harder for people to even think about putting down these kind of roots in a community. Good jobs are the kind that come with a finite contract and force one to look at pulling up stakes every 2 years, sometimes every year. If you’ve put down roots in a place it means traveling more for work, or commuting in all directions for longer, shorter and weird time frames. And no, I won’t talk about how hard it is to finance a home these days. Even with the economy doing some recovery and more jobs being out there, it doesn’t mean that people are earning enough to finance a home. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t be where I am now except for being able to take over a family home and property, and knowing that even if my employment isn’t steady my husband’s is, and he will be able to continue working where he is for quite some time. Given these things, we know we have the ability to maintain the house and property, and eventually completely own it ourselves.
We all want a home of our own. A real home. The kind we get to decorate ourselves, fix up to our own specifications. Its never easy, but the dream lives in all of us somewhere. A small spark of “this is really my home”. Many of us grew up on the mass media that showed Americans owning homes and raising families. We loved all the sitcoms and movies that focused on families in their own homes. We dreamed about doing that ourselves. Reality is much harsher. Reality means that we crunch numbers and sweat before we even start looking at houses. Reality means that we may never have the ability to own a home of our own, even if we scrimp and save for 20 years. And this situation is one I think Americans are scared will never change. The economy might continue to recover, but will wages, salaries and policies be more favorable? Will working class Americans be able to afford homes again?