Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gray Houses

We've been seriously house hunting for 6 months now. And when I say house hunting, I really mean dream chasing.

First there was the fixer upper with barely developed but beautiful land. A private driveway off a gravel road and acres of soft grasses and tall trees. We envisioned years of work--on both the house and the land--but a peaceful, quiet existance.

(It was snatched up by an investor, with less time and more money. I imagine w'll see it flipped and back on the market soon enough.)

Then there was the farm house. Solid, no frills house with pastures and barns and places for pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep and horses (not that we want horses). It was like one of those packets of sea monkeys I had as a kid, where all you have to do is add water--only all this place needed was the livestock. We would be homesteading in no time.

(The day we put in an offer, the owners got into a car accident and took it off the market.)

Within a few weeks we found another house. I couldn't believe our good fortune. We dubbed this one "the mansion." It was by far the nicest (and most expensive) house we looked at. Giant kitchen, perfect pantry, electric pastures, a beautiful chicken coop and wrap around deck. High-class country living. And acres of forest to trail blaze.

(A few weeks out from closing, we learned that the house was one of oh-maybe-twenty-houses-in-the-whole-city that wasn't covered by emergency services. As in, they don't necessarily come when you call 9-1-1 because you don't pay taxes. We rescinded our offer.)

Even though the houses share some similarities (read: land in the middle of nowhere) they are all so different! Our realtor even commented on it, which sent me into a self-conscious spiral and eventual acknowledgement that she was correct. The funny thing is, I feel like we could have been happy in any of them.
Let's get this straight: I like things black or white. You know: right & wrong, good & bad. I love it when there is an optimal choice to be had and, let's face it, when the "perfect" decision is readily available. I feel unsettled knowing that there are multiple life trajectories in which I could envision myself thriving.
I know I "shouldn't." I know that life's beauty is in the subtle complexities of gray. There are ups & downs, risks & benefits, pros & cons--a hundred colloquialisms to describe the dissatisfying reality that very few things are ever solidly black or solidly white. So what does it mean? What happens if there is no one "right" choice? If there isn't a perfect choice, then I can't have the risk-free thrill of making it.

My logic and OCD prevent me from leaving the equation unfinished. If I string these two thoughts together it means there are any number of imperfect scenarios in which I can be happy. 

Imperfect = happy?

I guess I have some contemplating to do.