I'm not a competitive person with other people. I've never cared too much if someone else wins a game, a race, or anything instead of me. In fact, I kind of like other people to win instead. I feel guilty if someone is losing and it means more to them than it does to me.
I'm a competitive person with myself, if that's a thing. I set unrealistic goals but when I achieve them or even gain traction, it's so fulfilling. With jobs or design or character development, it has always been my way to use what resources I have (access to training, books, hand-me-down furniture, etc) to better my life or situation by pushing me forward. That's my DNA.
So now, we're in this weird stage. The home buying stage. And it's been rough on me, on us, on reality. Last week I told the world via Instagram some pretty serious, life changing news. I've been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. It has changed the way we live. And living on a 3rd floor walk-up with laundry in the basement isn't doable some days. So we're looking for a house to buy. Which is exciting despite the circumstances!
But the hard part is that home loans aren't for creative entrepreneurs. They're for people with W2s and straight forward incomes. So what we can afford on paper is limited compared to what we can afford in reality. Another hard part is that we want to keep our monthly payment low but we also don't want a house that needs a total renovation. We're both pretty particular (thankfully in the same way) with the types of houses we like, size we need and neighborhoods we'll consider. We're looking for a vintage home with character and space. We're willing to do some work but mostly cosmetic (kitchen, floors, paint, etc.) and not major (foundation, electrical, layout, etc.).
The competitive--or maybe more so comparative--part of me is coming out during this process. I see Pinterest and Instagram in a completely new way now. Instead of seeing a beautiful room and being inspired by the designer, the style, the pieces, I get envious that the poster has that house. Can afford that house. Can afford that renovation and furniture. I HATE that's where my thoughts go. So I have to keep 5 things in mind when I'm looking on social while we're in the market:
1. There are homes with tons of potential in every price range. We just have to find ours.
2. The home we can afford now isn't the home we can afford later on. Getting into the market automatically sets us up for affording something more later on a lot easier. 5 to 10 years from now, we'll have equity to move towards a new place.
3. We've taken a rental with a lot of eye sores and made it into a place we'll be sad to leave. We can work our magic on even the saddest house on the block.
4. Pinterest is for inspiration, not imitation. Because comparison is the thief of joy, right?
5. While we're looking for a house to suit our aesthetic hopes, we really just need a house that meets physical checkmarks to make my life more mobile and our lives easier. It doesn't need to be impressive.
House envy or social media comparison isn't something I've had much experience with but it's definitely something I don't want to hang around. How do you fight off the urge to compare?