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11 Jun 2012

Rentals Anyone?

Is it better to rent a house or own one? It seems like a pretty straightforward question. Own one, of course! Why would anyone want to rent a house when they can own one? Well, maybe if you are like Jack Reacher from Lee Child's Reacher series, then you would rather rent a house. Reacher liked to be on the move and did not want the feeling of having roots at any one place. It sort of makes sense, come to think of it. 

So, it really comes down to what kind of a person you are and how you like to live your life. Most people like the stability of having roots while some enjoy the high of being a few feet above the ground. Usually the younger you are, the less concerned you are about having roots. As you get older, you start thinking about where you want to retire. You want a place where you can spend days doing nothing more than laying back and enjoying the quiet. Strangely, in my case, it has been the opposite. It's not that I'm terribly old but slightly older than what I need to be allowed to call myself young. 

I grew up dreaming of owning a house. I nurtured the fantasy until I bought an apartment a few years ago. It was not exactly the stuff of my dreams but I loved it. When I banked the last of my mortgage payments, I retired the dream, leaving an empty space where bricks, mortar and splotches of colour had been metamorphosing during my entire childhood. I, however, did not feel the sheer joy that accompanies dreams coming true. The burst of glitter and the background music did not quite happen. It was not that I was not happy but I did not feel the rush I expected to. Is it because I do not spend too much time there anymore? 

When my job took me overseas, I experienced a whole new world. From a developing country to a developed country, the leap was huge. It was not so much the glamour that money held but the scent of freedom that grabbed me. I travelled to as many places as I could during my first year. By the end of that year, I was smitten. This is what I wanted to do. Travel, travel and more travel. When people asked me if I was going to buy a house here, I did not quite get it. Why would I buy one when I could keep moving? I could move states or I could move countries, as my fancy took me. If I wanted to, I could just move houses because I wanted one with a better view from the balcony or had a bigger swimming pool. I could change my mind about what suburb I wanted to live in. There was so much freedom in renting a unit than there was in owning a house. The owner would worry about the registration and taxes, the renovations and insurance. All I needed was my suitcase and identity points to bunk where I wanted to. The smell of freedom had engulfed me to that extent. Jack Reacher, I feel you! 

That is not to say that I do not like the idea of roots. I am happy to be tied loosely to my roots, as long as I can keep flying high for as long as I want to. Tomorrow, I may decide to cut the chord and fly away or turn off the hot air and glide down. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Yes, it makes sense to me now. Why would people rather rent than own? It is because it gives life the flavour that the consistency of everyday broth lacks. Did I mention it is cheaper to pay rents than make mortgage payments? It may not be so, in the long run but, not knowing what tomorrow holds, it might just be worthwhile. 

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