Megan texted me and told me to show up at some address on Monday at 4:00. I didn't really know what would be happening but that was more or less par for the course in this process. Buying a home is as confusing as insurance, as stressful as talking someone off a ledge, as unsettling as getting lost at the grocery store as a child, and as intimidating as starting a new job. ALL AT ONCE.

I arrived at 4:00. Some people sat around a small table with me while a man handed me one paper at a time and told me to sign and initial in a thousand places. It felt like an assembly line. Except instead of making trinkets, we were signing my life away and becoming significantly poorer.

I'm told I'm supposed to stop saying that. That I'm not becoming "poorer." I'm just transferring my assets and "investing." I put "investing" in quotes because I'm not convinced that's a real word. I don't think I've lived long enough to believe in it yet.

We rapidly dove through the documents, page by page, until the last sheet of paper was turned. I planted my John Hancock on it and the man stuck out his hand and informed me that I was now a homeowner.


Home. Owner.

A person who owns a home. A home where a thousand things can go wrong. A place that will forever have my name etched below it in the history books as the next guy to whom the property belonged. A residence my bitter spirit will one day haunt when the future owners park their hovercrafts right over the spot where I planted my precious rose bushes.

I walked out of there and climbed back into my car.

It was strange. Stranger than I ever anticipated.

I'm 30. I've seen a lot of the world. I've moved to developing countries. I've had my share of complicated relationships. Completed college and law school. Tried cases in courtrooms. Advised on very heavy subject matter in a number of capacities, mostly as a lawyer.

But this was the first time I had ever really, truly, felt like a grownup.

I now owned a home. Those people sitting around that small table--they were there for me. Multiple professionals gathered in one location because I, Eli McCann, needed to sign a pile of legal documents so I could have exclusive access to an entire house and property.

Because I was buying a home.

I drove away from there, realizing that one of the most significant events of my entire life had just taken place. And yet, I was heading back to my office so I could finish reviewing some contract for a client about installing storm water drain sumps on their property. I would do that, and then I would head back to my quiet Rebecca-less apartment to spend the rest of my evening packing the evidence of my life into large boxes to later take over to my new home.

There were conflicting feelings as I drove away. Gratitude that I'm able to take this big step and make this home purchase happen. Anxiety over all the work it will entail and the unknowns that might become knowns at any given point. Excitement that I will now have the opportunity to make a place I like a home I'll love.

But if I'm being honest, and I hope this privileged whining does come across as too privileged or too whiny, overriding all of those conflicting emotions to a degree was a profound loneliness. A feeling of loneliness I absolutely had not anticipated.

It was very apparent to me as I drove away that this big huge purchase, the purchase that most people plan for and dream of for many years, is one that I never thought I would be doing all alone.

I wandered to the house today to pick up the keys and do some cleaning. My movements echoed off of the empty floors and walls. It was beautiful in there. And quiet. And empty.

I surveyed the work to be done and the furniture to be purchased. I tested the locks and light switches. I coerced myself into wandering into the creepiest parts of the 1925 basement and successfully convinced myself that there were no ghosts down there.

And then after a while, I lay on the bedroom floor, staring up at the ceiling, emotionally exhausted from a long couple of months of house-hunting, negotiating, document gathering, etc., all while attempting to maintain my other life obligations, including a very demanding full-time job.

And I wasn't sad. And I wasn't happy. Not relieved. Not anxious.

I was just content. Content that I live a life, like everyone else, that isn't linear. It can't be summed up in terms of steps forward and backwards. It's multifaceted and complex on each plane. And there will never be a time where phenomenally wonderful achievements and milestones are not simultaneous with failings and disappointment. No success will ever happen while everything else is perfect.

And that's not a bad thing. Or, rather, it's not productive to think of it as a bad thing.

The complexity of varied and simultaneous happenings gives depth and flavor to our experiences that make all of them so much more meaningful than they ever could be if they happened in a vacuum. We understand and praise accomplishments only in the context of the hardships that sought to prevent them. We implicitly admire the character of the perseverant more than the naturally talented, even if the naturally talented are sometimes more fun to watch. And sometimes getting out of bed in the morning is only an achievement because of all the imperfection that befell the day before.

So I'll take my potpourri of emotions this week. And I'll respect them. Because they reflect my life and my experiences. Experiences that have made me who I am so far and have helped me interpret the world.

By golly. I'm a homeowner.

~It Just Gets Stranger