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Ch- Ch- Changes!

Change #1: This past weekend I made a change from blonde back to my natural hair colour.

I’m not sure I dig it quite yet. But I know it’s the best decision financially. Keeping up the blonde on hair that grows like a weed is expensive!

Speaking of “expensive” things…

Change #2: I’m going to be going back to school soon. Things aren’t completely set in stone at this time and I’m still looking at a variety of options, but I have been accepted. So, I will for sure be returning to the world of academia this winter, it’s just a matter of where exactly. My hope is to be able to return full-time (minimum of three courses), but that may mean having to make some even bigger and much more complex life changes than just colouring my hair!

To be honest, I have a lot of anxiety, doubt, and apprehension around my decision to return to school. It’s a huge commitment of time and money, and years of my life to get to where I want to go. And there’s a huge part of me that feels as though I’m 24 and I’m getting too old. I don’t know how that’s a rational thought, but I think seeing everyone else my age being happy in their careers and starting to settle down is making me feel as though I should be doing that too.

But here’s the thing… I’m not happy in my career. Sure, it pays the bills, but it hasn’t fulfilled me in the ways I’d hoped. I thought I could find a way to be happy in this career. I thought it could challenge me enough. But it just doesn’t. It’s a shame that I knew a few years ago, in the midst of my degree, that this wasn’t the right place for me. But it was close enough for me to keep going and finish. I don’t regret my degree or the path I’ve taken for a second because ultimately it’s leading me to where I need to be.

I have been just reading this quote over and over, trying to remind myself:

“Follow your passion, follow your dreams, and the things you need will come.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Change #3: I have plans to change the name of this blog. As much as I thought the name “Eats, Sweats, Peas” was cute when I was just starting (a whole two months ago), it doesn’t fit where I want to go with this little blog. I love to eat, and I enjoy sweating, but there’s more I want to share. I want something broader. So expect to see a change of name pretty quick here. 🙂

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Now, onto something of a much more serious matter… (Not really.)

The Rooms

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a roommate who happens to be my brother.

Living with him is easy. I know what to expect because, well, we’ve been there, done that for many years prior!

He keeps the kitchen clean and on occassion he makes dinner. He does his own laundry, and has even graciously driven for me so I could enjoy wine with some friends! I really can’t complain!

But, when I went to my hair appointment this past weekend, the hairdresser (who happens to do both mine and my brother’s hair) informed me that he told her I am “messy.”

Say what???

I guess the two whole days I was feeling under the weather last week and didn’t pick my mugs up off the coffee table officially made me the “messy one” in this household.

So, the ultimate sibling war stands… Who’s really the messy one?!

I took those pictures because I was planning to show them to said hairdresser. You know, get the truth out there! But after contemplating it, I realized it’s not a big deal and definitely doesn’t warrant risking this hairdresser running her mouth (again) and starting a real sibling fight. I love my brother to pieces and enjoy having him as a roommate. Plus, we all know who the messy one really is!

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Have you ever changed your blog name? What prompted the name change?

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How to Survive and Maybe Even Love… Renting

A lot of people have questioned me lately about my choice to rent vs. purchase a home.

One year ago, I was fresh out of my undergrad, and living back at home with my parents. I wasn’t sure where my life was headed, and I had a gazillion ideas buzzing around my head about what my next step could be. Although I was one of the few people from my graduating class who landed a full-time position within a month of graduating, I had been having doubts about my chosen career since my 3rd year of school, and I didn’t feel like I had found a job I’d settle into for the next 20, 10… Not even 5 years.

I realized I still wanted to go back to school in a couple years, and I wasn’t ready to plant my roots anywhere just yet. Investing in further education was more important to me than buying a “bachelorette pad.”

And that’s fine. Some people come out of university with their dream career, ready to settle down into the next phase of their lives. A lot of people I went to school with ended up finding jobs in exactly the area they wanted to work in, and many of them got engaged or married, and bought homes.

On the other hand, some of us come out thinking, “uhhh… What now?” For me, I knew in my heart I wasn’t finished with my education. Some people just want the freedom to travel after slugging away in classrooms for years. Some people feel the need to grow their roots a little more before they are ready to plant them. And, let’s face it, some of us just can’t afford a down payment after accumulating 4+ years of student loans.

I’m so excited for the day that I can buy my own home (in say, 10 years). But for now, I’m living the renter life. In fact, I’m lovin’ it! Sure, I have moments where I feel like I’m not as “established” as some of my peers, or like I’m throwing my money away. But there are plenty of advantages to renting, and reasons to enjoy living mortgage-free.

One of my favourite things about renting is knowing that if my life suddenly changes, I have the flexibility to up and go. One of the things that scared me off from buying a home was when I got caught-up in some budgetary lay-offs at my previous job. Although the lay-offs were more of a legal move by my employer, it was scary to know that my job could be pulled from out under me at any moment. If I had a mortgage, it would’ve been an even scarier situation since I live on a sole income – my own! Having gone through that experience, I know I would feel much more secure going into a mortgage with someone else. It really makes a difference knowing that if the economy takes a turn for the worse, or if you were to suddenly end up unemployed, that there’s still another income there.

NOTE: This does not mean I don’t support single people buying homes. I think it’s fabulous, and all the power to you! I’m just explaining my level of comfort having gone through a horrible experience of having my job put on the line, and knowing I would’ve been an anxious wreck if I’d gone through it with a mortgage to consider.

Renting has allowed me to get to know the area. Although I grew-up in the community I live in, a lot changed in the 5 years I lived away. In fact, the neighbourhood I reside in didn’t even exist when I graduated from highschool. Now that I’ve had a chance to live there for awhile, I’ve got a feel for how different my current neighbourhood is in comparison to the one I grew-up in. People are way friendlier on my side of town, and the outdoors are even more accessible since I’m in closer proximity to lakes, rivers, and great hiking trails. Neighbourhood is definitely a factor to consider when purchasing a home, and renting in different neighbourhoods can be like “window shopping” for when you’re eventually ready to buy.

Renting allows for room to grow. It gives you time to become more capable, more confident, and more assured in what you eventually want in a home. Renting has forced me to become more capable in negotiating with landlords and building managers, a skill that I’m sure will translate when it comes time to negotiate with banks and realtors. And having lived in a basement suite, a townhouse, and now an apartment, I definitely have a feel for what type of environment I’d be comfortable living in long-term. For example, having someone living below or above you isn’t always the most comfortable situation. From that experience, I now know that I wouldn’t want to purchase a home with a basement suite to rent, and I definitely would have no interest in purchasing a condo. (Unless there is insulation completely boxing my living space in.) As much as I’m happy for the people upstairs that they have a healthy, umm… relationship, it does get old hearing them go at it every other night. These are the kinds of things that I wouldn’t understand that I value as much had I not gone through this whole experience of renting.

Everyone moves at their own pace in life. For myself, renting just happens to be the best option for me at this time. I definitely think buying is the smarter route to go because ultimately your money goes toward an investment that appreciates. Nevertheless, buying is a commitment that you should only do if the timing is right for you. So when people ask me, “why didn’t you just buy a place?” I just tell them, “it’s not the right time for me.”

Are you a renter or a homeowner? Have anything to add regarding renting vs. buying from your own experience? 🙂