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Katrina (single woman) to Lindsay (married woman)

I was so moved by what you are giving your children and your in-laws with your extended family in one home. Some of the best, most formative experiences of my own childhood were when my grandparents lived with us for an extended period. I grew closer to them, and I learned a lot about aging and suffering—and also, how to become a better Scrabble player! It’s wonderful to hear of a large multi-generational family making a go of it in era when that’s not really fashionable.

But one similarity that struck me about our essays was how home ownership is such a weird mix of practical and emotional. It’s so easy to shift from thinking about whether there’s enough room from everyone (practical!) to emotional (what will my family think about leaving a home they’ve been in for decades?), and yet making decisions that take into account both those factors is tough.

I also loved how one of the features you were sure you didn’t want in your home ended up bringing you such a beautiful view. Adult life has a funny way of showing us that so often what we wanted is not what we needed.

As the pandemic ebbs and normal life returns, I hope your new home is blessed with many joyful gatherings of family and friends, able to all be together in your new space!

Lindsay (married woman) to Katrina (single woman)

I realize it’s bad etiquette to invite yourself over to someone’s home, but your place sounds like somewhere I’d love to hang out—and not just because I am enamored of your choice of paint colors. (I also couldn’t wait to get some color on my walls, once I had the chance!)

Your space sounds like a place that honors the present, a space that welcomes joy, laughter, contemplation, discovery, and renewal. I appreciate your honesty about the struggle to accept that we don’t know what the future holds and that we can only plan so far ahead. I’ve had to wrestle with the same reality in my own way. It’s tough sometimes to be okay with there being no guarantees in life. I think you make a strong point when you say that often, the only thing to do is to make the best choice possible with what you know at the time and just keep living your life.

As I reflect on your piece, I wonder how many of us end up with the homes we thought we’d have on the timeline we anticipated. Perhaps living the dream, as it were, is the exception, and the rule is building what you need from what you have to work with. There’s beauty and strength in that. Thinking about it that way helps me take the long view and see that homeownership, like so many adult decisions, is a big deal, but not the be-all, end-all. Things change. People move. That’s okay.

I wonder where each of us will be in five, ten, twenty years. The same homes? Different ones? Maybe it’s good that we can’t know. It means we’re all the more compelled to enjoy being right where we are today.