In early spring of 2016, we made the decision to sell our home, move across the metroplex and go back to being renters instead of homeowners. It was not a decision that seemed logical to our family and friends. We lived in a suburban neighborhood near my husband’s job, and by all appearances our life was perfect. The local school district was exceptional, and we could technically afford our mortgage. This move would mean a 45 minute commute for my husband. So why did we want to change something that wasn’t broken?
The material reasons included the fact that at the time we had a lot of debt that felt crippling. The area we lived in was rural suburb and there weren’t a lot of options for entertainment. The housing market in our area was booming so we had a good idea of the potential profit we would make, so our plan was to take our profit and use it pay off our debts. We also wanted to downsize and simplify because having a home the size we did at the time just opened us up to a lot of unnecessary clutter.
But the bigger reason we started considering this move – I felt deeply unfulfilled. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that we needed to be in a different area. We had a 5-month old baby and a preschooler. I felt isolated. I knew some of those feelings were a normal part of having young children (especially an infant), but I craved a community.
So, we did it. We sold our home, downsized, became renters, and moved across the metroplex (about 1 hour) to be closer to our spiritual community.
I’ll be honest. This process has had a lot of ups and downs. For example, the reality of transitioning from homeowners to renters really hit home when after just 2 months of living in our new rental home, the only bathroom we had completely malfunctioned. We found ourselves in a hotel for 4 nights while the owners arranged the repairs!
The spiritual community we moved to be closer to went through significant changes. The only meeting location in our area closed its doors 3 months later. All of the spiritual leaders moved to the flagship location across the country, leaving the student volunteers to host classes and events in random classrooms and private homes in different areas of the city.
We questioned our decision, went through periods of extreme self-doubt and had times when we felt heavy regret. But, 3 years later, I stand firm that our decision was the right one for us.
Why? Because of the importance of our environment.
Many self-help and leadership experts agree that we become like the people we surround ourselves with. Well, the experiences we’ve had since our move has proven this to be entirely true. While our plans did not manifest the way we had dreamed, being closer to like-minded people who share the same beliefs and life outlook that we do has improved our quality of life in countless ways. Our spiritual community is small in number, but it is mighty in its commitment to personal transformation, unity, and basic human dignity for all people. To me, this is worth more than having the title of ‘homeowner.’
There have been a lot of blessings in the changes we’ve gone through. We have been given the opportunity to host classes and events in our home, which means we get to use our home to share with others. We have dinner with members of our community a few times a month. We support each other through life challenges and we are all working towards something bigger than us. We’re all taking more responsibility for what we want our life to be like, and to actively seek that out – and this is true for both our family and our community.
The more logical needs we were worried about have worked out better than we thought. We have a conscientious and responsible landlord. Our daughter is thriving in her new school, and because we live in an urban area, we have a lot of family fun in our city. Our children are exposed to art and culture experiences that simply weren’t available where we were living before.
This experience has also taught me to trust my gut instinct, to be more authentic in my relationships, and to never give up.
So, even though our decision was not necessarily a logical one, it has paid off in a lot of ways that are immeasurable. The effect a positive environment has on our daily life has been powerful in our case, and we’re so glad we took the leap.