i like drama. i like to put on a show. our lives are so pregnant with opportunities for joy and action squandered out of poor timing, misspent chances and down-right lack of vision that if i can bring everyone together with a word, who am i not to? we all want to feel that we're part of something bigger than we are, but which we still own a part of. with this is mind, i was was still overwealmed by the response i got when i posted the following on Facebook on Friday morning:
"Peter Raven just bought a house."
over the next few hours my phone beeped almost constantly. i'm amazed the battery didn't go flat. 2 days later, the counter has stopped at 49 likes, 34 comments. that doesn't count the phone calls and SMS's that have come through since, either. now, i have a rule that i don't allow my Facebook Friends list to rise above 200. my theory is that i'm unlikely to actually care about any more than that, so each time i get up there i cull a few of the people i no longer talk to. this means that at least a quarter of the people on my friends list have commented on that, even if just to post the word "Congratulations!" - an overwhealming outcry of wellwishing. the sheer volume of it all became quite confusing after a while. why? why the sudden outpouring of emotion?
it's taken the last couple of days for it all to sink in. no, i'm no excited... not in the way that most people think about it, anyway. after 2 years, i've reached the point i was aiming for (overshot the mark, as it happens), gone forth and found somewhere that suits, negotiated and agreed to buy it. it's... the next step, and far from the last, in a journey i started when i got back to Australia from Europe nearly 3 years ago now. i planned it, took some detours on the way, and now after accumulating the resources i needed i've finally picked up the enormous hammer i built for myself and used it to make one of my problems go away. i'll admit it's fun though - the amount of cash i've put together is fairly staggering... from my perspective anyway, and getting to finally use it is immensely satisfying. the budget i'm working with just for improvements and fitout is enough to make me shudder. i could travel around the world for 4 or 5 months with that portion alone. the deposit i'm laying down would keep my feet from touching the ground for easily a year.
i think this is a crucial element of why everyone's so excited - i've been extremely fortunate that i've been able to do this. i have an above-average income and i've been living rent-free with my Parentals for the last two years which has saved me thousands. it's been becoming increasingly hard for people to actually buy a house without pushing themselves into a massive hole of debt, especially single people. i know a lot of people who are paying off mortgages at the moment and more who are working up the funds to be able to, but i also know plenty who just can't, and will be stuck renting for the foreseeable future.
then of course there's the social pressure in our society that to be a proper and valuable member of society you need to get a job buy a house and have a bunch of kids. ignoring that i'll never actually achieve all three of those standards, achieving this is something that brings hope to everyone you - the thought that if one of your peers can achieve what you want to do, so can you.
lastly, and the easiest thing to forget, is that i've been talking about this for years now. i've celebrated my milestones on the path in little ways, kept myself going with the constant mantra of "no, i'm saving to buy a house". now i've done it, of course those near to me are going to celebrate it with me. its been such an fundamental part of my life for so long that's taken so much of my dedication, and my desire to move on to the next phase has been so strong that it's natural that they'll cheer me along. that's what friends do, and that's one of the reasons why mine are awesome. we support each other and through communal effort we ease the burden for everyone.
so here we are - one long wait is finally over. the situation has been carefully structured and balanced. i've bought a place that's on the cheaper end of the spectrum that i can afford easily - to the point where my repayments will be only barely more than the potential rental income. i need to live in the place for at least a year to qualify for the $7000 First Homeowners' Grant, but after that i should be in a position where i can rent it out for roughly what the repayments will cost, which effectively means that i can ignore it and let it pay for itself. once that happens... i'm free. free to travel the world, work as a professional diver, or simply wander, with only the obligations i choose.
and for once, just for a moment i'm allowing myself to feel like it might just be all downhill from here...