Confessions of a Reluctant Renter

A guest post by a contented renter, Lisa-Jo Baker, The Gypsy Mama

Some days I’m ashamed of our house.

{Woah – did I just say that on The Nester’s blog? Where houses are beloved, treated politely, and complimented often. }

Other days I’m pretty sure our house is ashamed of me.

The house and I? We have a love-hate relationship.  Some days more hate than love.

You see, it’s not really my house. I’m a renter. There, I said it. I’m a thirty-seven-year old, long time married woman with three kids and I’ve never owned a home. Did you get that? I have never owned any kind of land beneath my feet, white picket fence or a red front door. {I dream of a bright red front door}.

Pete and I have lived in three different countries and gypsied around so much that at first we never wanted to own a home. Then when we wanted to, we had no easy work history, since so much of it was overseas. And then, well, yes, there was the issue of debt to credit ratio.

So we’re renters.

And for years it made me feel like a dork who would never be a “real” grown up. Because “real” grown ups owned homes and planned renovations and didn’t get intimidated by the Home Depot. And our rental, well, she’s reliable, but she sure ain’t pretty. She’s small and has faux bricks in the kitchen that constantly come unglued, barely there counter space, and a mosquito infestation for a back yard.

After a while I started to feel as small on the inside as my house was on the outside.

You see, I felt we deserved to own a house. That we were entitled. And I got pretty worked up about it.

So there I was all hot and bothered in the brain – for months, mind you – until I stumbled across this verse written about the man who is said to have had everything. The man that one translation calls, The Questor, because he was so set on trying every pleasure that life had to offer:

[The Questor] challenges the naive optimism that sets a goal that appeals to us and then goes after it with gusto, expecting the result to be a good life. ~ The Message, Introduction to Ecclesiastes p.1162

Did you get that?

One of the richest men in history said it’s naïve to assume that simply getting what we want will guarantee us the good life.

This may be obvious to you. But I’d been blinded for a long time by the dream of curb appeal, a two car garage and a stone fireplace. And suddenly I saw the dream for what it was – no guarantee of the good life, no matter how much the American dream might tell you that it is.

Even more surprising was how relieved this made me feel. I am not defined by my house. Neither the one that I don’t have nor the one that I don’t want. Home is the mess and the people who make that mess living inside.

So this current house and I? We’re on much better terms lately. Our relationship is going on three years now and we aren’t quite as shy about having guests over. I still can’t quite get up the desire to invest paint and elbow grease into this cramped place that may not look the better for it, but I do love how its smallness has been so full of big lessons.

So much so, that one day when we are finally able to afford something I might actually enjoy decorating, well then, I think I might find I miss this crazy upside down little house that taught me that I’m much more than my bathroom or the amount of counter space in my kitchen.


More wisdom in the form of some of my favorite posts from Gypsy Mama::


At Home on The Road:: What Home Is


You are More Than Your Swimsuit


What I Learned From Almost Two Months Almost Unplugged

Why Motherhood Shouldn’t Be Graded on a Curve