On Staying In Brooklyn, At Least For Now

same street, different address

My little brother is buying a house! You may remember him from his adventures buying his first car. He’s moving up in the world. He has a job in suburban Maryland, and a long-term girlfriend in suburban Maryland, so, well, now he will have a house in suburban Maryland, too.

On the phone last night, he said tartly, “I heard you’re not buying after all, so I figured I should.”

Ha ha. SIBLINGS. Seriously, though, this is how we make choices. We look at what the people we love do and do the same, or try the opposite. Shma mi na, the rabbis say. Learn from this.

What is he learning from me, exactly? Well, Ben and I bought our place four years ago, when we were both employed, we had paid off debt, and interest rates were low. Just as Ron Lieber advises, we bought less house than we could technically afford. And we bought in an area we felt confident we wanted to stay and grow in for the foreseeable future.

Earlier this winter we agonized about uprooting and shifting to Queens, and that is still a viable long-term plan. Turns out what I prioritize in the moment, though, is maintaining a hold on sanity, however tentative. Instead of trying to make lots of expensive changes at once, our current thinking is to stay put for another year and a half, Make It Work in 850 square feet (we’re hardly the first), and move sometime between when Babygirl finishes Pre-K and starts Kindergarten. Assimilating the stress of selling this place and buying — as well as, good lord, moving into — another while having Baby #2 seemed ludicrous once we stepped back and considered. We can wait? Then we should wait.

Sometimes, if you’re unclear about what to do, do nothing is perfectly reasonable advice. Especially when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.

Besides, we seem to be getting exciting new neighbors:

Elmo has moved from an apartment into a brownstone. His best friend, Abby Cadabby, loves her new community garden. And while Oscar the Grouch still makes a trash can his home, he now pops up through an underground tunnel of connecting recycling and compost bins.

Tell me that doesn’t sound like “Sesame Street” has moved to Brooklyn.

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