It finally dawned on me what was behind all this angst over the condo. It has nothing whatsoever to do with money. The condo is a convenient and comfortable choice for me, monetarily. The fear that is behind this indecision was surprising when it came bubbling to the surface. Doesn't mean that it's a rational fear, but it is a fear, nonetheless.
By choosing a condo, it feels like I am resigning myself to being old and alone with too many cats.
Pebbles asked me last night why the condo would feel different than this apartment. Well, this apartment was always meant to be transitory. I was only to stay here a year and then I was going to buy a house and/or Bick and I would somehow magically figure out how to fix everything. Secondly, this apartment is in the hottest spot in town. And while that wasn't part of my reasoning for being here, it certainly has a fun, vibrant cache.
Buying a stand-alone house feels independent and well, stand-alone. The perception that I have about how it looks to others keeps creeping in. What the hell? Because actually I think it would/could be isolating. A stand-alone house would keep me tied to it and not out amongst people, other than those in the aisles at Home Depot. The less time I spend on home maintenance is more time I can spend being engaged with other people in one form or another. One of the things I've enjoyed most about living here is having people around. Even my company the other night remarked about how isolating living in a house was for them and how much more they enjoyed "communal" living. I do know that is true for me - it's one of the reasons I would consciously choose a multi-family setting would be to have humans around. I've lived in relative isolation for years and moving into this place has been eye-opening in that regard. So why the fear/irrational fear?
As far as the old goes, well, it is what it is. I will age whether I live in a house or a condo. I've never really had a huge issue with aging so this surprises me a bit. And it's not really about age so much as being vital and vibrant - two things that I very much am. And the ironic thing about this particular feeling is that I want the condo PRECISELY because it does support an active, involved, non-solitary lifestyle!
And probably the biggest factor coming into play in the condo versus house decision isn't condo versus house at all. It's rent versus buy. And it has nothing to do with deeds. It has to do with relationships. I'm closer to buying the condo, as I haven't found a house that would work nearly as well. The real fear/hurdle is making the real move into another home. It feels like shutting the door on my relationship with Bick. Perhaps I'd always harbored some secret thought/belief/hope that we would find some sort of geographical solution to a non-geographical problem, but neither of us appears to be interested in doing that. I think with our individual real estate decisions, we are both saying this is changing - and while I know it needs to change, the unknown is well, unknown. So we will be challenging ourselves to forge a new place for ourselves as we both move out of limbo. How that will look, I don't know.
So that's the plain, unvarnished truth as I've uncovered it so far. It has far less to do with real estate than other stuff. I don't plan on making any decisions until after returning from vacation. At that point, I'll bring Pebbles over here to look at the condos and I'll spend more time just wandering around the condo complexes, just to get a feel for the place (and the number of cats! ha). I'll sit for a while with these truths exposed to light and logic and see what comes of it. Once I see what the real issues are, I can deal with them, rather than have them bleed over onto everything else.
As always, I appreciate the wise counsel, both in comments and in emails.
Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Say it with me "The truth shall....."