All my life, I wanted to stay in my own house. And then when I bought one 6 years ago, for some reason, I couldn’t stay there for long and had to let it out. I never figured out why people got so attached to a place. I mean, it’s just bricks and mortar. And plaster and pipes.
Now I am beginning to understand why. Or at least, I think I do.
Understandably, the numbers don’t make sense. With interest rates being what they are and rental yields in low single digits, from a pure numbers perspective, it is always better to rent than buy. Or at least, that’s what I kept saying.
Still, when I saw your happiness at the prospect of getting our own place and doing it up to your satisfaction, I understood the meaning of that old adage “Not everything that counts, can be counted; not everything that can be counted, counts; .”
“Happiness Quotient” - a friend calls it. ‘HQ’. It’s not as easy to measure as IQ. It’s in the same fuzzy place as that other HR favourite, EQ. In this age of Big Data, when everything we do can be turned into a metric and possibly monetized, I guess someone somewhere will figure out a way to sell us happiness. Till then, we make it ourselves...
"A place to call our own". A place to build our dreams together. A place where we will grow old together. A place we will look forward to come back to, when we wander the world.
I now understand what ‘settling down’ means.
Life is not just about seeking new experiences and seeing new places and tasting new cuisines. That part is important, but...
“Old-fashioned stuff matters too” – You have taught me that. A sense of familiarity. A sense of belonging. A sense of being rooted. A sense of comfort.
Viewed from this perspective, it is starting to make sense. Why you buy stuff from the same shop every time. Why your dad goes to the same doctor for 15 years. Why the fruit vendor calls out to you and ensures you buy more than we need. Why you feel that the place you live in is the best place in the world, squabbling neighbours notwithstanding.
Even as I come around to appreciate this ‘settling down’ business, a small part of me holds on to the romance of the nomadic life. I never knew settling down would be so unsettling.
You have made it easier. You have turned a drab place with four walls and a ceiling into a space filled with warmth and happiness. You have turned a house into our home. And in that process, you have helped me learn to forget the pressure of the EMI and taught me to enjoy the fleeting joys of the here and now.
Only YOU could have done it.