Putting Down Roots

I’ll confess. I’ve been feeling rather rootless for a time now.

Going on 2 years ago, my husband and I experienced the glowing embers of realization that our life in Beaverton needed to change. We’re getting on in age, and a 2-story, 5-bedroom house with a big yard didn’t make sense for the next chapter in our lives. So, we started exploring possibilities throughout the Pacific Northwest. While we didn’t reach any conclusions, we elected to sell our home in a favorable market last summer. We downsized big time and found a lovely townhouse to rent while we sorted things out.

For a time, I thought we could just chill out here until the clouds parted and a blinding ray of light illuminated the path forward. I kept doing bits of research here and there all the while mulling over our life circumstances. Far from receiving a grand gesture from the heavens above, things just seemed to get murkier the longer I sat with the decision process. It got me to thinking: What is it about buying a home that makes me feel so anxious and (dare I say) indecisive?

The obvious: A home represents the largest single investment in our portfolio… and a somewhat illiquid one at that. We don’t make these decisions often, and I want to make sure we make the right one. (My husband stresses about it far less than I do!) But it’s a bit more than that. Buying a home makes a strong statement about our lives. It says: Here’s where we stand. Here’s the community to which we belong. These are our people. Here’s where we’ll set down roots. And at our age – with the prospect of becoming more dependent on others in the coming years – those statements carry added weight.

Also obvious: Having lived in the same place for 15+ years, we have networks of connections that sustain us and would be effortful to rebuild – e.g., friends, social outlets (e.g., master gardening, choral groups, square dancing clubs, theater groups), doctors, dentist, hairdressers, et al. While I’ve built these relationships before and could do it again, medical care turns out to be a sticky wicket. With a nationwide physician shortage, it’s hard to get care as a new patient, and we may or may not wind up with folks we like. We’re pleased with our current care team, and we’re covered so long as we stay with them. Given the breath of our needs, that’s a major decision factor.

A couple of weeks ago, our realtor and dear friend suggested we dip our toes in the waters of three new construction subdivisions that are within a few miles of our old homestead. We had nothing better to do and always enjoy her company. So, off we went for a look-see. Wonder of wonders, we wound up making an offer on a not-quite-perfect-but-close-enough single-story home within a mile-ish of a shopping center, medical center, and fantastic gym. Having signed a gaggle of papers and made selection for interior finishes, we’ll likely move around the time that our lease ends. Whew!

I had a moment while processing this turn of events and very nearly took a walk from the deal. But when I looked at the decision logically and saw how much my husband was looking forward to living there, I settled right down. I knew it was the right choice at the right time. And now that we’ve sorted out the financing side of things, we just need to cool our jets for 3-4 months while they finish building the house.

I’ve already started thinking about the ways in which I can make our home a place for social gatherings. For the first time in our marriage, we’ll reap the benefits of having a great room that will accommodate goodly-sized crowds and a large kitchen island around which food preparation and consumption will go hand-in-hand with lively conversation. And given that I’ll be within a few miles of my choral group’s rehearsal space, I’d like to reinstitute pre-rehearsal dinners for folks who’d like to socialize before we sing. We used to do that pre-COVID when I sang with ISing Choir, and I loved camaraderie forged at meal time while watching The Great British Baking Show.

For now, life has afforded me the opportunity to exercise one of my least favorite “muscles”… patience!