Tag Archives: self-reliance

Home Economics 101

My latest Industry column talks about buying a house and being self-reliant, and all the ways that we actually need help regardless of our claims to independence.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 7.41.10 PMAfter years of not really thinking about it, living off myself by necessity, I was talking to a girl I’d just met at a meditation retreat while doing kitchen duty. As I was talking about my career I listened bored with myself as I expressed frustration with the going rates for writing. “It helps to have a boyfriend who is generous,” I joked. “I wouldn’t want to live off any man, though,” I assured her.
She smiled and said, “You shouldn’t worry about it.”
“I’m not worried,” I said. Instead, I was annoyed, but wasn’t sure why.

Through a turn of fortune I went back to work for myself right after buying my first house. Fortunately I got a good deal, because six months later my position at work was downsized, and I was not only house-poor but also unemployed. Conjuring ways to maintain my dwelling under difficult financial circumstances was a fascinating disjunction – on one hand I clung to my home is an indispensable statement of individualism and identity, but on the other hand I needed help in order to keep it. I had to ask for and receive help from more people I’d ever thought possible, and had accomplished more with their assistance than I ever could have alone. Parents, friends, random acquaintances helped me discover what looking for, buying, financing, and taking care of a house was about. Plus, with the addition of a roommate, I was better off than when I was renting, and the commitment to one place was not a tether as I feared it might be, but instead made me feel grounded and actually freer.

Continue reading in Industry Magazine on Issuu.com here .