The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Carolyn Hax: Buying a house feels like ‘the end of all adventure’

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
3 min

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My birthday is this weekend (35!), and my partner and I are celebrating by going to look at townhouses. We are planning to buy this year. Part of me is excited about this — it was my idea, and I’ve been doing most of the research — but the other part is rebelling against the whole thing.

My 10-year plan for my 30s included living abroad for at least a year, which I never got around to doing. Yes, I realize there are people older than 35 who do this, but I also know that investing in a home now probably means I won’t be one of them.

My partner is excited and optimistic about all of this, but I’m feeling more and more like a stick in the mud. How do I stop feeling like I’m heading toward the end of all adventure?

— The End of Adventure

The End of Adventure: Adventurous people find ways.

Your way? Up to you. You can buy a townhouse and, when you’re ready to move overseas, rent it out or hold it for a few years and sell when you’re ready to move abroad.

Or you can set up a bank account separate from your regular ones as your dream fund and designate a monthly amount to feed it, thereby making sure you don’t overbuy real estate to the point it crowds out other dreams.

Or you can leave this to the future and apportion a little time now to researching overseas possibilities, just to reassure yourself that you’re not abandoning the idea, you’re just taking things in the order that they’re proving possible. Breaking big things into manageable pieces + starting now = getting it done.

Or you cannot bother with any of this and just spill your newly conflicted feelings to your partner. It doesn’t have to be a big deal — just a mind dump, so that it’s no longer preoccupying. Label it as such first, just to make sure your partner doesn’t run with it beyond your intentions, but also be open to where an honest discussion of it takes you.

Re: Ten-Year Plan: If there’s anything that wasn’t in your plan that you’re happy about, then you know the “plan” isn’t the only path to satisfaction. If you want to live abroad, great, find a way to make it happen! But if your sadness is more about failing to cross everything off an arbitrary list, let it go.

— Anonymous

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Dear Carolyn: I was born and raised in a football city but have always been indifferent to the sport. I don’t schedule my life around games.

The problem is that everyone else I know does, even my mom. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that no one will even consider doing anything else on a Sunday afternoon. Now my boyfriend won’t go biking with me on what may be the last nice Sunday before the weather changes. How do I get over this frustration?

— Indifferent

Indifferent: This will sound glib, but it’s just direct: You will get over it only if you want to.

That is, if you genuinely make such good use of the time that you’re grateful football makes it possible. Otherwise whatever you tell yourself to make it okay will just be a Band-Aid, and we all know how those look after a few days.

Seriously. If this is a source of resentment now, then it’s not going to get any better with time. Either embrace your solo Sundays, embrace football, or embrace a more compatible partner.