Wednesday, September 29, 2010


You are what you eat, so the saying goes. In a sense, that is true. We are in a very real way the sum result of our choices. We are all free to choose, but we are not able to choose the outcomes, the consequences of these choices. Certainly, people make choices based on assumed outcomes, even hoped outcomes, but unless those outcomes are based on reality and truth, the outcomes can vary vastly from our hopes.

How do we judge the value of a person? The things that give our lives value, are those actions, freely given, which have a positive impact on the lives of others.

I write this as a preface to a recent decision that my wife and I made to buy a new house. Our goals were fairly simple. We wanted to reduce the amount that we spent each month for our mortgage with the expected outcome being a home that we pay off much quicker than 25 years remaining on our current home. We expect that we can pay for this home in 7 years and still reduce our monthly mortgage payment by a few hundred dollars each month. A primary outcome we want is a home that we own outright that provides physical and financial security no matter what happens in the future.

Another goal was to simplify our lives, consume less, use less space and energy. We expect to lower our overall energy consumption by living in a smaller space, especially if we install more efficient HVAC equipment. By freeing up income, we expect to be able to renovate the home and make the living space pleasant by adding upgrades that we would never be able to afford in a larger space.

Another primary goal is to be able to spend more money on the things that are most important to us. Travel, hobbies, activities for our children, charity and other worthy causes that make life more valuable.

The end analysis was that we are currently spending too much for the house we are in now, and that it makes more sense to be housed more modestly, in order to live more richly. Why do we choose the house and the neighborhoods that we choose. In part, it is the status we perceive of living in a particular place that influences our choice. Society pushes us towards these choices because we perceive social status as power. I resist the idea that status determines a person's worth and value, both on a individual and communal basis. The great thing about the US is that we are still free to make our own choices, even if far too often we allow others undue influence in the process.

So, Jacqueline and I have decided to back up our words, and the values that we claim, with action, and with our pocketbook. We are risking our life savings by purchasing a house. I hope you’ll join us as we go through the process of turning it into our home. Hopefully,we didn't bite off more than we can chew.


Sharis The Bunny said...

We are seriously going to miss you guys! Are you at least staying pretty locally?

- The Van Sciver family

db1911 said...

Only about 15 minutes away. Yeah, the hardest part in all of this is moving further from friends and neighbors, but that doesn't mean we can stay in touch. You guys are always welcome wherever we live.