Saturday, July 22, 2006


It's relieving when you find out there's a name for your situation; it means that others have gone through it before and lived to tell the tale. Let me tell you about last weekend.

The housemate had announced his upcoming move. Normally I'd not think anything of it & start making moves to find the next, but this time was different. This time there was doubt, real doubt and indecision. Do I stay? Does comfortable equal stagnant? Do I go? If I go, where do I go? Should I keep playing the stable one, or was it time to shed material possessions and locate the next chapter of the sharehouse adventure elsewhere? Was it time to start seriously thinking about property ownership?

I gave myself last weekend to be indecisive, to sort out the shit in my head and by Monday I had to choose & take action. In keeping the options open I drafted a Housemate Wanted ad, went & had a look at a couple of units in Kingston & Narrabundah and talked to a lot of people with available rooms about the amount of interest they'd been getting.

Now an aside. Canberrans may know this, but for the benefit of interstate and international visitors I'd like to share my observations of the inner suburbs property offerings. About 90% of apartments must've been designed with couples sans sprogs in mind; apartments typically have two bedrooms, but one is of a decent size and the other should really be called a study, because there's naff-all room in there once you've got a queen-sized bed & a bedside table in there (and in some you'd be lucky to fit the bedside table in), the lounge & dining areas are usually combined (forget having your own space & quiet time if & when you need it), there's hardly any storage space and the combined bathroom/laundry is usually pretty small too.

I did a lot of walking last Saturday and ended up drained & disheartened. It turned out that there were quite a few rooms available & not many people showing interest. The places I saw fit the stereotype, so even with the minor flaws of this current place (having to do DIY because of a pretty much absent agent), it became apparent I had a place with the right amount of space & configuration for sharing (split living/dining and a second room slightly bigger than the average).

I still wasn't any closer to a decision. I sought counsel far & wide, but it was Paul - wise in many ways and especially in the ways of sharehouse living - who put a name to what I was experiencing: Nurumayu. It's Japanese & translates to "lukewarm bath water". The New York Times sums it up nicely:

There is an expression in Japanese, "nurumayu," that describes the coziness of a lukewarm bath even when someone knows that it is time to step naked out of the tub and face the chill. Many Japanese say that their nation's economy is "nurumayu," and they realize that it is time to get out -- but that the bath is so lulling that they cannot summon the energy to do so just yet.
I was in property nurumayu; the bath that is sharehouse living was comfortable, but was cooling and in all likelihood it would get cold and uncomfortable after a few more housemates came & went, but I was not yet ready to step out & face a change.

It was pointed out to me that leaving this place now would be like strapping into a sharehouse ejector seat; there'd be an eventual landing but violent start. I'd be leaving quickly and in all likelihood paying more for less. I could do sharehousing in the current place for a while yet, but what I needed was an exit strategy.

Paul put me on to a book called The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. It's basically a book of advice for people in their 20s & 30s to get their financial life in order and it was exactly what I needed.

I've decided to stay in Kingston a few more years all things being equal. I'm now working on my plan to get a property deposit together so that I have resources and options when I can't do sharehousing any more, I've put out room ads & gotten some good interest and I'm feeling more comfortable with the possibilities that lie ahead.

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Posted by Dean @ 7/22/2006 07:13:00 pm

...Survey says...


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