My husband and I recently started the process of doing a major renovation to our home. Now, when I say “major,” I mean we have stripped 95 percent of the home away and are rebuilding it so that only 5 percent of the old home remains. This includes moving windows and doors and adding a full second story. I’ve been posting about it on social media and sharing updates using a #ProjectRaiseTheRoof.
I’ve gotten so much love from people sharing in our excitement. Yet one thing that consistently gets said to us makes me cringe: “You’re so lucky.” While I understand the intent behind this comment, it always makes me pause and think.
Let me give you some background:
Shawn and I bought this home more than three years ago. It is (was) a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house at just about 1,000 square feet. We moved from a four-bedroom, two-bath house that had a little over 500 square feet more.
Our dream has always been to live on the water. This house has that dream. The land is exactly what we have been looking for. The house, on the other hand, was not what we wanted, or “needed” for a family of four. For the three-plus years we lived there, my daughters shared a room that was about 12 by 9 feet. We had items in storage, including clothing that we had to switch out every three months. We couldn’t have large get-togethers unless the weather was nice. We had multiple roof leaks that were patched often, and during the winter months, we all felt squeezed and on top of each other—and there were so many other things that were “uncomfortable” and “inconvenient” to us.
We had a goal. Period. We had to sacrifice certain things to get there. Period. Had we not been willing to deal with the house, we would have never had the opportunity for a piece of land on the water like this—it just simply wasn’t in our budget.
For the years we lived in the home, we chose not to make updates. We chose not to eat out all the time, we had basic cable, we went on limited vacations, special coffee trips were saved for the absolute must-have days, tax refunds were saved, presents at Christmas and birthdays were limited or consisted of home improvement gift cards. We pinched pennies wherever we could. We had a dream for the house. We had to do it—slowly—as much as we wanted to do it right when we moved in.
We had to be “uncomfortable” before we could be comfortable. Now three years later, we are building our dream home on our dream lot and using the money we saved to do it! It was not “lucky.” It was planned and executed. It took sacrifice and hard work.
If you have somewhere you want to be, don’t just keep saying “maybe one day.” Save your money. Make and execute your plan. I’ve been there. I know how easy it would have been to stay in our original house with our updated kitchen, large bedrooms, two bathrooms, and be “comfortable.” But sometimes the greatest things happen in life when you step outside of your comfort zone and set your goals high!