Is the Grass Really Greener When it’s Yours?

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How different is that grass really, on the other side? The side that settles down, buys a house, stays in one place. Is it greener when you own instead of rent? Does it make you feel different about your town, your state, when you stay in one place?

In the last nine years I have rented eight different houses in four different states, never living in one place longer than three years. I have loved some, tolerated others. I always remember thinking “this is temporary” and sometimes I really wish I could think “this is forever”.

Sometimes I wish I could paint walls without worrying I will have to paint them again when I leave. I wish I could change carpet, tile, and appliances. I wish I could commit to a house, make it the home I always wanted. But then, the orders come and we move again, leaving behind the last house, town and state for the next.

It is exciting though, the moving. The new experiences are what make it worth it. But sometimes I cant help but be jealous of my friends and family who bought homes in wonderful towns and are putting down roots and building a future, in one place.

I wonder if my daughter will wish she had that. Will she love the moving like I do, or will she long for the stability of one home, one school and one town? I feel guilty about it. She is only 11 weeks old, I wonder how much of that guilt is my feelings, my desires for some stability and for our own “home”.

Again, as with so many things we are faced with, it’s all about the attitude we adopt. I can wish for things, hope for them but I am always aware and accepting of my circumstance. This is our life, and a pretty darn great one. We get to see the country, meet new people and make amazing memories. We get to experience all kinds of places, small towns, big cities and everything in between. I figure when we finally do settle down we will know exactly where we want to be. We will know exactly what kind of house we will want and exactly what kind of refrigerator we will buy. I imagine the conversation will go something like this: “remember the one in Florida we had?” or “definitely not like the one we had in North Carolina”. All our experiences will prove invaluable when the time comes to buy our own home.

I know all these things, rationally but it doesn’t make it easier. It is still hard to move each time and to know that we are going to rent yet another house that isn’t ours. It was especially hard this time. Our last unit was in a beautiful place. My brother and his wife actually moved near us and bought a home. They put down their roots and my parents weren’t far behind them. It was great having family so close for the time we were stationed there. I was so happy for them and also jealous. I watched them and their excitement at decorating, furnishing and getting settled into their new home. I wanted to be buying a home too, to be settling. I wanted to paint walls my favorite colors and pick out curtains. It is so hard sometimes to watch the people around you finding their place and knowing that your time is still so far off.

Our time will come however, and for now I am holding on to that. I am planning it all in my head. I know the style of house we will have, the landscaping. I know what I want my kitchen to look like, how I want my living room to feel. I know that I want to live in a neighborhood with a lot of trees and where we feel safe and a part of a community. I guess I can be grateful to all the houses I have lived in and all the towns along the way for giving me that insight.

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Comments

  1. Katie Bray Smith says:

    I didn't know that you wrote articles! Very cool! I'm not sure about the grass being greener. We haven't had time to really paint or do much to the house since E is on a 270 and I am not a "handy woman." It's nice to be able to hang stuff on the walls and get furniture for a place that you know will stay there longer than 4 years. But, the upkeep is much more than I expected. I suppose it would not be that hard if E was not underway or at work all the time. But, mowing the lawn, trying to fix a blown fuse, etc. are a lot to tackle on my own. Thankfully, my father and FIL are close by. I owe them a lot and the rest of the familes for helping me out. The best part for me is being able to invest in something and not throwing money away in rent. But, when we are due to PCS in 2015, I will be praying that we can stay in New England!

  2. Linda Aitken Tourjee says:

    It helps to have a little of the Donovan gypsy in you…nice job Car. OX

  3. Pam Nelligan says:

    What a great article ! So true about the Donovan gypsy. There is a small population of people who can see the upside of starting over: gain and again and again. It takes courage, and resiliency and truly a love of adventure; things military families have in abundance.
    Thanks for sharing your insights and reminding all of us that a military life isn’t just the servicemen and women. Military families sacrifice much of the American Dream, while keeping it alive for the rest of us.
    Beautifully written and thanks for the peeks inside military life ! Thanks to all you military families who read this !

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