Thursday, June 18, 2009

Being a Grown-Up

One of the things I always felt was out of my reach was home ownership. Silly, I know, but I put that under the category of Things Married People Do, or Things Lawyers/Doctors/Investment Bankers Do ... not Things Humanities/Arts People With Peter/Petra Pan Complexes Do. I've been a student more of my adult life than I've not been, and am still officially on the college rolls (my perpetual doctoral pursuit). And now that I'm moving towards not being a Married Person, I feel once again like a kid.

But guess what: paying rent sucks. I have a fabulous deal on a pretty sweet spot in grad hospital, but even so that sweet spot is costing me $925/month. Sounds great for a 2-bedroom, but I make somewhere around $500/month in take-home pay. Not so good!

I won't go into all the boring financial details, but part of the divorce agreement will give me enough money for a down payment on a house, IF I can find the right place for the right amount--right amount meaning something that will have a significantly lower mortgage payment than my current rent. Fixer-upper? Yes! Shell? No, because I need to live there, not pay a mortgage and rent at the same time. It needs to be near either the Broad Street Line or the Market-Frankford line, because both of those connect with PATCO, which connects me to my son's other residence in Jersey. Safety is the other hugely important part of that, because I'm not bringing my son into a "transitional" neighborhood where dudes get shot or knifed every other month. Past that? I want something that when I look at it, I can see myself there. With my boy, and my cats. Home.

I need a job, I need a house, and I need a grown-up life. I've spent the last six months working toward self-reliance, but I still have a way to go. I can't be too hard on myself for not landing a job in the worst "recession" since the Great one. I just have to trust that things will turn around, for the country and for me.

And that there's a little rowhouse with a little backyard out there, waiting for me.

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