Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Today I realized that I have become one of those people. You know, one of those people who is so kooky and fringy that no one really takes them seriously. 

Yeah, I've become one of those people.

A couple of nice young women from my church, looking for a service project, asked if they could help me with some yard work. I was happy to have the help. During a break, when I had brought them some lemonade, I showed them the foundation of the tiny house I was building. I was surprised that they had never heard of tiny houses or the tiny house movement. As I tried to explain the plan to them, they were positive in that way that people are when they are trying to be polite, and don't want to openly tell you that you are a loon.

This is a possible scenario I struggled to avoid for some time.

For a long time, I went over my options again and again. I wanted to leave my house. To be done with it. I felt that my whole life revolved around paying for and taking care of my house and I could not effectively do both. Earning money took far too much time to have any sort of a life. Any spare time was often spent just trying to catch up on chores and housework. There was never any time for anything. I was exhausted and in despair of my situation and my unkempt home.

Before I bought my house, I had seriously considered building a tiny house, but felt at the time that I did not have either the resources or the support system to make it happen. After I bought my house, I believed that once the dust settled from the purchase and the move, that I would be able to begin saving money again-- I had been very good at it up to that point. But the reality was that over the course of the next 7 years, not only was I not able to really begin saving money again, but every year I found myself farther and farther in the hole. My savings dwindled and dried. And every time I did begin to put money away again, something would happen to eat those few savings. 

 Over the last year, I came to a breaking point. I worked at sketchier jobs than I have ever worked in my life and I labored most especially under the weight of depression. I went round and round about the notion of the tiny house that I might build. The idea of a space that was debt-free, bill-free and in need of very little care and maintenance was a beautiful one; but at the same time, there were doubts. The house I had was a good one. I was fortunate to have found something in so ideal a location with so many benefits. People would think I was deranged if I gave it all up to live in-- essentially-- a garden shed. And where would I place it? Where would I find a piece of land as ideally situated? It especially seemed like a crazy idea when I went to visit a home that was tidy and well kept with conservative home owners. Such an idea as mine would not only look like insanity to people like this, but I feared that making the attempt would put me so far outside the realm of normal humans that nobody would ever take me seriously ever again.

I considered the possibility of renting out the house and putting the tiny in the back yard, but it seemed like too complicated an endeavor to undertake at a time when I was looking to simplify. What if the renters destroyed the house that I was still legally and financially responsible for? What if they stopped paying rent? The procedures for either scenario was too complicated to think about. I just needed to sell the house if I was going to get out from under the darkness I was in. I considered the possibility of staying in the house and trying to make the situation better, but I'd been there eight years already and things only got leaner with every passing year. No, selling it was all that was left.

It was one night, working at a home improvement store, that I realized the solution I kept coming back to was to get out. And the only way I could see to do that was to sell. So, I decided, however crazy it may end up being, however crazy it may look to anyone else, I just had to sell.

My dad came to pick me up from work that night. I told him my plan to sell my house, use the proceeds to buy a small piece of land out right and build a tiny house. Then I asked if he would help me get my house ready to sell. He said, “Okay,” like it wasn't the craziest thing he'd ever heard. On the contrary, he acknowledged that he could see that the house was killing me. That was a surprise to me since I didn't think that my parents were aware of much. But that was also the night the depression lifted and I got excited about my life again. Suddenly, I was excited about what the future might hold. I could see possibility again.

Since then the plan has changed slightly. My parents will be my tenants. I feel better having them as tenants because, I can still keep tabs on the house and help out when I see a problem. I will build my tiny in the back yard and we will split expenses. They can afford to retire. So can I. I can also stay in a neighborhood that I like.

I knew that being the crazy person and the odd-woman-out were probabilities, but my life has only gotten better since I made the decision. Everything just seems to be falling into place to make this happen. So, crazy or not, I simply can't afford to care anymore. My life is SOOO much better and I am SOOOO much happier.

I wish all y'all normal people out there the same relief.

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