Did you know that a quarter-life crisis is a thing? Because I sure didn’t when I was 25. So, here’s a look back at when I made two of the biggest mistakes of my life at that age. If you are approaching 25, maybe this can be a lesson for you.
OK, so waaaay back when I was 24 (at the beginning of 2007), I was working at the daily paper in Lynchburg, Va. I found out my sister was pregnant, and I decided that I wanted to move closer to her and my family. I found a job nearby, and I was ready to moved. Due to having the loudest neighbors in the history of apartments — I mean, probably not, but it felt that way — I decided I was going to buy a house. Yep. A freaking house.
Well, I am as stubborn as the day is long, and no one could possibly have talked me out of buying a house. I lived with my parents for about three months while searching for a house in Johnson City, Tenn., where I worked. The first real estate agent I had would not listen to me, and she kept showing me houses in the area where college students lived. Yeah, that’s what this person with misophonia wants, noisy college students. No, thank you. I mean, my main goal in buying a home was because I thought I would have some peace and quiet after having to live next door to rednecks blasting their music at 3 a.m. every night.
So, I found a different real estate agent who was awesome. After looking at some more than questionable homes — one had a literal hole in the living room floor with plywood over it — she found a home for me that hadn’t even been listed for sale yet. She was driving around, saw someone working on a house, asked if it was going to be put up for sale, found out it was, then showed it to me. It was love at first sight! It was such a cute house. Two bedrooms, decent-sized kitchen, attic, basement, storage shed, living room — it was really nice and the perfect size for me. So, I bought it.
And if you were paying attention, you will notice that I did this in 2007. Yes, I bought a house right before the Great Recession. I, of course, had no idea that was going to happen. So, the prices on everything went up, while my pay at work did not. I ended up having to get credit cards just to pay for the basics.
Did you know that houses are expensive to take care of? I didn’t realized just how expensive. Tip: When you go online to search for a house, and it gives you an estimated monthly payment, double that. That monthly payment is if you pay a massive amount down and does not includes insurance and whatever else they tack on. Everything costs money. And I decided it would be awesome to do that all by myself. News flash: It wasn’t awesome.
I was so broke. I ate a lot of cereal, hot dogs and pasta because that’s all I could afford. I neglected myself and my home because I was so depressed. I finally realized that I couldn’t live there anymore and definitely couldn’t work where I was working anymore. This was in 2013. When I went to sell my house, I owed more than what it was worth. I paid on that mortgage for almost six years, and I had paid off basically nothing. It took more than a year to sell that house, and the only way it was sold was by taking out a loan to pay the different in what it sold for and what I owed on it. Took me four years to pay off that loan.
And special thanks to my family for working on selling the house after I got a job 7 hours away. I could not have done that without them.
Another part of my quarter-life crisis was that I thought it would be a grand idea to own a bunch of pets. Hey, I have a house! I can do what I want! So, I ended up with 10 pets. TEN. What was I even thinking? I had five cats, a dog, three birds and a hamster. So many regrets. First off, I learned that I am NOT a dog person. I like to visit with them, but owning them? NO. Dogs are very high maintenance and much more expensive to take care of than a cat. I learned that birds are very messy and loud. I learned that five cats is way too many. And I learned that hamsters are adorable, but the cage requires constant cleaning.
Also, who would have guessed it? Owning 10 pets is expensive. I bought a house before the Great Recession, then thought “Hey, what would make this more stressful? Ten pets!” So, I was so broke that I simply could not take care of all of these pets anymore. My hamster, Rodney, died of old age. So, I had to give away the birds (Ebby, Ivy and Olive), and I had to take three of the cats (Zig, Zag and Orion) and the dog (Loki) to a no-kill shelter. Please don’t be like me. Think, budget, plan, think think think think before you get pets. I will always feel guilty about having to give those sweeties away. I would share photos, but I just can’t bear to.
So, folks, know that a quarter-life crisis is a thing. I wish I had known. Would I have made the same choices? I don’t know. Hopefully not. I went into a massive amount of debt because of these choices, and I only recently paid off my last loan. Don’t be like me!
Until next time!