26. A seemingly insignificant number that today represents a very real connotation. 26. The number of days until I am a homeowner. 26. Less than one month, a mere 3.75 weeks. 26.
I’ve made a considerable amount of large decisions in my 14 years of adulthood — numerous moves, education choices, relationships, jobs — but none seem to be more significant than the purchasing of a house, solo. None have contributed the amount of stress, anxiety and slurry of other emotions that are contemporaneously running through me.
True, this is not technically my first dance as a homeowner. After a post-undergrad decision brought me back to my hometown, my ex and I not only bought a house, we purchased what will most likely (fingers crossed) be the largest home improvement project I will ever take part in. For a measly $12,000, we had in our possession a little piece of land on Elkhorn Street, on which sat one extremely dilapidated house, as well as months and months (and months, as it turned out) of long days, weekends and late nights of work.
Was the Elkhorn house any less of a commitment than the house I’m purchasing now? In theory, no. Beyond the actual purchase of the property though is where the major differences lie. In 2003, I was in my early 20s, I was in love with my high-school sweetheart and we were buying a house together. Procuring that property was based solely on emotions — purely an act of love. We had made the decision together; it was our project, our house, our life to build together.
My house, the one I will be the owner of in a mere 26 days, my house will be my house. There will be no one with which to share the responsibilities of home ownership. It is this fact — that I am alone in all of this, that this decision and all its surrounding consequences and resulting responsibilities are mine and mine alone — that is the primary source of my anxiety and stress and sleepless nights. It is this fact that has created a constant game of back and forth in my mind. Yes, do it. No, walk away. Yes, this is what you want. No, this is a crazy, scary decision that you don’t have to make right now. Yes, you are strong and amazing and you can do this. No, you can’t. Yes, you can.
Purchasing this home also signifies a solidification of Denver as my home. True, houses can be sold or rented and nothing is permanent, but the financial investment I’m making really does change things. Learning to stay has been a constant struggle for me. Buying this house is more than me owning a place of my own; it’s me choosing to stay. And that has also been a difficult decision to make.
Thankfully, I have one hell of a support system, both in Denver and beyond, filled with the most amazing people. I am so very grateful to each and every one for being there for me through this process. This local support system is also the reason why I am confident the choosing-to-stay decision was the right one.
And now, before all of you wonder what exactly I’m doing buying a house when clearly it’s making me crazy/stressed/anxious/insert appropriate adjective here, I should also mention that mixed in with all of those negative emotions are plenty of positive ones. Truth be told, I am EXTREMELY excited about what, in 26 days, will be my house. MY house. A house that is beautiful and in exactly the right neighborhood.
The best part? It will be mine. And even if that fact is terrifying and a huge change and sometimes makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and sob, it is also something wonderful and amazing. It is strength and growth. It is me making an investment, in myself and in my love for this city I call home. 26 days . . . and counting.