One of My Favorite Procrastinations

It’s going to be a long time before we own our home. We’ve lived in four homes in four years, and we haven’t owned any of them. While there are perks to living in someone else’s place (something’s broken? call the rental company!), it’s one of the few things about the military that kind of bums us both out some days. We really would like to own our home.

Focusing on what we don’t have is a drag, so instead of dwelling (man, I love puns) on the negative or having house-envy of my home-owning friends, I’ve decided that watching my friends build or buy their homes is the next best thing to doing it ourselves. So here’s my secret: One of my favorite procrastinations is admiring my friends’ homes on Facebook.

Our house in Germany is functional but not beautiful; practical but not photo-worthy. At some point last year, I stopped being annoyed by it and started living vicariously through my Facebook friends instead.

The girl I rode the bus with to Kindergarten and her husband built a gorgeous home in our hometown. Thanks to Facebook, I got to watch their construction pictures and see dirt and 2x4s become a warm, beautiful home where they get to raise their kids.

My best friend from middle school and her husband bought a home a year or so ago. I love seeing the pictures of their DIY upgrades. Of all things, it’s their cute little front porch that I’m most excited about. They’ve done a nice job with their flower beds, and my friend puts out cute porch decor for the holidays. It’s so inviting!

Friends in St. Louis who had their first baby a few months before we had Small Shaw just finished their basement so that their little guy has a dedicated play space. And another set of friends bought their house in Arizona at right around the same time they announced that they were pregnant.

Yet another friend and her family bought a charming little farmhouse on a hill in the woods in small town Missouri. I had coffee at her kitchen counter last year, and I still feel revved up from those hours with friends in that loving white frame house. I’m dead serious: knowing that I can find my friends at a certain address for the next however-many years helps ground me even when we’re moving so frequently.

By living vicariously through our friends, I’m able to feel some of the excitement of home ownership along with them. I can imagine their kids — who are in elementary school now — pulling up in those same driveways when they get their drivers licenses in a few years. I can even picture those homes changing and adapting over the coming years as my friends and their families love those houses until they’ve unquestionably made that magical transition from houses to homes.

It probably sounds crazy, but this whole process of seeing people I care about find homes they love gives me serious warm fuzzies. Those same warm fuzzies are an easy pick-me-up on the days when I feel a little too nomadic and uprooted to have calm in my soul.

Now you know one of my biggest secrets: Sometimes I just sit at my computer, look at my friends’ pretty homes, and daydream. In those moments, there’s a little bit of peace.

Thanks for posting your pictures and sharing your lives, friends. Someday I’m going to invite you over to our house. Until then, watching you guys settle into these warm, welcoming spaces gives me hope that our day will come, too.

P.S. If you’re one of those friends who’s always posting amazing pictures of your beautiful home decor, expect an invitation from me in about a decade. I’m going to need help figuring out how to pick wall paint colors and decorate in a classy way after all these years of “just making it work”. Consider yourself warned! 🙂

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  1. This is a great perspective to have. There are definitely pros and cons to Army life. I guess my favorite procrastination is perusing pinterest for DIY and features of homes for the future. My least favorite thing about being nomadic is not being able to build up my own yard and garden. The investment in time and money are tough to justify when you know it will most likely not be taken care of when you leave.

    • Thanks Mallory! I should check out your pinterest boards – I’ll bet you’ve got some great ideas there. I can only imagine how beautiful your garden will be again some day. Hang in there, my friend!

  2. You’ve had so much patience with your rentals! Not being able to hang anything (bare, white walls), electrical outlets with no covers, moving every year (especially the last move, with Small Shaw being only three weeks old) would have me feeling pretty crabby. You mention things now and then, but I’ve never heard you complain. Can’t wait to see your own home – it will be such a warm and inviting place to visit! Nice post, thanks for sharing!

    • As, thanks Mom. It’s definitely not easy sometimes (those exposed electrical outlets with a toddler? Yikes.). I remember a time when my house wasn’t a safe place for me to come home to though, and that makes me super-grateful for what I DO have now. <3

  3. I am always in awe of immaculate houses. I always want to say, “Where are all your things?!” My house is never immaculate.

    • I agree, Amber. I’m suspicious of anyone who doesn’t have closed-door storage and/or big baskets to contain the stuff. Houses are for living in. 🙂

  4. Love this! It will be a long time before we own a home as well. I’ve known so many military families who bought a home, struggled to sell, and lost a lot of money. I’ve also known several who rented out their homes and had terrible renters. So I’m a bit gun shy about buying a home in the future right now and we simply keep saving and saving for now. I do love admiring other homeowners homes though. It’s fun to live vicariously without the actual expense. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Sharing on SM now 🙂 Have an awesome rest of the week.


    • Like you, Lauren, I don’t think we’ll buy until we’re ready to live (permanently) in the home we purchase. We’ve just not heard overwhelming evidence that buying and renting is profitable (or gives enough peace of mind) to make it worth it. Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting, and sharing on SM!

  5. I used to browse Zillow for homes, but I had to stop. It just made me too sad. While we do own a home, it’s only cuz we couldn’t sell it before we had to PCS (we are now renting it). It’s a cute enough house, but not my dream house.

    Though I do love seeing my friends homes on Facebook, especially my Vermont friends. (Jealous much? Yeah, I am, and I’m okay with that lol).

    • I hear you, Kara. We came really close to my husband leaving the military in 2012, so we started looking more earnestly at the features we wanted in a home, our preferred style of home, etc. Once we decided to stay in the Army, I had to put that sort of daydreaming on hold. I still make note of basic things I’d like to have (or would prefer not to have) in our someday home, but for now, the real dreams of home ownership are just too far off.

  6. I love your perspective and I’m sure your family and friends live a little vicariously through you while you live all over the world. As a military family, I often miss having the stability of a constant home surrounded by extended family, but at the same time all the traveling and life experiences military life brings, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    • It really is a tradeoff, isn’t it, Nichole? I love our life, but I think it’s human nature to miss the things we don’t have — especially when those things include the stability of home. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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