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SALT LAKE CITY -- A little over a year ago we moved into a new house. Previous to this house, we lived in a small one-bedroom apartment for our first two years of marriage, a basement rental, and my Grandma's basement while saving up to buy our first house.
One of the basements we lived in was the same it had been since the ’70s and had emerald green carpet, pink tile, low ceilings — pretty retro. Oh, and rose-pink carpet in our baby boy's room sort of clashed with the baby blue and navy bedding I shopped around for months for. Not exactly the vision I'd always pictured in my head for my first baby's nursery.
But all joking aside, those were great years with priceless memories, and those interesting housing experiences only now make the memories more fun to reflect back on. But looking back, I remember that as we were renting and moving around it was easy to get envious of friends and relatives who had bought their own houses, especially when they were newer and more updated than the ’70s motif we had going on. I always thought, one day, when I have my own house and more space and newer things, it will be so great. I was always looking forward.
Well, we got lucky and hit the housing market right. It just so happened that when we were ready to buy, house prices were down, and some lots in one of the neighborhoods we had our eye on went down in price and we were able buy a lot. We were going to build our very own, brand new house. I was so excited.
We went through the building process and picked everything out. Then we moved in, and it was a little surreal. We were finally in our own place. It was nice and new and even had that new house smell.
Imagine how many wasted happy moments go to wishing for something that we don't have or looking toward the future instead of living in the present.
We've lived here for over a year now. And the truth is, I love my house, but once the newness set in, nothing really changed. I wasn't any happier because of my new house.
I specifically remember the day, a month or two after we moved in, that this realization hit me. I realized that yes, it was nice to have a bedroom for both our kids so we no longer had to share a room with our 9-month-old daughter, but other than that, everything was pretty much the same, just in a different setup. Having a new house with more square footage, granite countertops and updated appliances had nothing to do with my happiness.
Now this is not to say that I was unhappy before, but at this time, it hit me that we choose our own happiness. And it has nothing to do with the type of house we live in. I have just as many happy, fond and loving memories looking back at the year and a half that we lived in that old ’70s basement apartment as the past year in our new house.
It's so easy to look ahead and think, “It will be so great when …” or "I will be happier when ..." But really, as cheesy as it may sound, the time that is great is now. Imagine how many wasted happy moments go to wishing for something that we don't have or looking toward the future instead of living in the present.
I am convinced that in the end, it all comes back to one thing: being content in the here and now. If we can learn to keep perspective and focus on enjoying the little things and the precious moments in life, it won't matter what type of house we live in, what type of car we drive, or even what our income is. Because the truth is, even when we move into the new house or buy the new car or land that six-figure income, there's always going to be someone that exceeds us. More importantly, those things aren't where true happiness is drawn from.
Being content in the here and now, and truly enjoying the moments, seems to be the key, and I'm trying to be better at it. Feel free to join me.
Lindsay Ferguson is a wife and a mother of two young children. She writes from home and keeps up a blog at www.lifeasamomuncut.blogspot.com.