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Around the home

Owning it

manuelita otero

In my country, Colombia, there is an obsession to buy a home.  I don’t know if it is the culture or the way we have been brought up, but it is a reality.  Although buying your own house or apartment is an achievement, a great investment, and a step toward your goals, it seems that people “lose value” if they do not have their own house by the time they are 35. It has become a standard to measure happiness, success, and how much money people have.

We live in a society where personal achievements never seem to measure up to the idea of owning your own house. Some people may think that meeting the love of your life, doing what you love, being able to take your parents, no matter their age, to the trip of their dreams, or feeling peaceful because you have found your spiritual journey or a healthy lifestyle are all secondary things to owning your own place.

Where am I going with all this? I just think it is terrible that we could be missing our present just because we don’t have our own space.  I’m tired of the word “own.” So, I started looking at things from a different perspective. “Own” can mean my own style, a place decorated with the things I like. “Own” could be a unique space I love, or a house filled with my personality. Ellen Langer, psychologist of Harvard and author of the book “Mindfulness” says, “Human beings need to live in the moment.  Living in the moment is a state of active attention, open and intentional in the present where we observe more and we judge less… where we connect with what surrounds us”.  

If the house comes, great, but if it doesn’t, it’s ok. I can focus on enjoying what I have now; in making my space beautiful for me. All of this reminds me of an apartment we were renting not too long ago.  My husband used to tell me: “this place doesn’t feel mine.”  I tried to convince him to feel comfortable there, to try to be happy because the day would come when we would get our own place.  But now that we live in another rented apartment I understand that it was not about buying a place, it was about taking the time to make it “ours” in the present instead of worrying and waiting about what we want to own in the future.  

 Ana