Renting doesn’t have to be a last resort — or something to settle for. Because while there are advantages to owning your own property, there are also advantages to being a renter.
Let me acknowledge a fact of which I’m fully aware: as a renter, I’m paying someone else’s mortgage rather than my own. I’m helping the owner of that property build equity.
This is not something to argue or to take personally. It’s just a fact. Real estate agents share this not to shame renters but to encourage anyone who might be on the fence to take a closer look at their options.
Now, let me add that, in full knowledge of that fact, I’m choosing to rent right now for the following reasons:
No Lawn or Flowerbeds to Maintain
No Need for Major New Purchases
My credit rating has taken a hit over the past 20+ years and I’m currently working on repairing it (getting back to “Excellent”). Even if I wanted to buy a house, no mortgage lender would take me seriously right now.
With tightening FICO restrictions, it’s near impossible to get a mortgage loan if your rating is under 620. So, I’ll work on that before I think about buying a home.
For the time being, living in an apartment within a ten minute’s drive from my kids’ dad (to make the joint custody/parenting time arrangement easier) makes more sense.
There are no houses around here within my price range that I’d want to commit to for the next several years.
That could change, and I could revisit the idea in the next few years. But right now, the apartment I’m renting is the best option for me. And I don’t see my monthly rent as money going down a hole; I’ll be getting plenty out of it, even if I’m not building equity. I’m aware of the trade-offs.
I love that my new apartment is within walking distance of a the downtown area. I’ve missed being able to walk to places from my apartment (the one I had years ago in Salem, Oregon). I look forward to weekly walks for groceries, coffee, etc.
I’ll admit I have looked into the trailer home park close to downtown as another option. The main draws were the location and the possibility of lower cost per month. I was looking into rentals, though — not houses to buy. I’m not ruling it out, but for now, I’ll be living in an apartment for at least a year, if not longer.
Our new apartment complex has a well-equipped laundry room, a fitness room, and a community room we can use at no charge for social gatherings (by reservation).
It also has secure high-speed internet included in the rent. And while I’ll still be bringing my ethernet cable, that’ll save me a hunk every month. The rent for these apartments is neither low-end or high-end for the area.
Our new apartment complex has a secured entrance, and each tenant uses an app that allows them to see the person at the door who contacts their apartment number to request entry.
Plus, every apartment door has a peephole. It’s a small thing (literally), but it was one of the first things I looked for when I toured the apartment.
No Lawns or Flowerbeds to Maintain
I don’t have time for outdoor landscaping, lawn mowing, etc. A few container plantings on a balcony — plus my interior houseplants — are more my speed.
If I ever do buy a home, I’ll probably nix the lawn in favor of planting beds with some low-maintenance native plants, including some for butterflies and bees. If I’ve got a good rainwater collection system, I’m hoping I won’t need to run a sprinkler to keep them from dying.
I don’t mind having some soft grass in the back near the patio, but having a picture-perfect lawn is not a priority for me.
No Need for Major New Purchases
Here are a few things the apartment already comes with:
Refrigerator w/ freezer
I already mentioned the laundry room (which has a coin machine), and the fitness room — which has new machines and weights. Aside from the new seating options I’ll need to buy for the apartment (bar stools for the bar countertop and a couple new chairs — or a chair and a loveseat — for the living room), I won’t need to make any new major purchases for the apartment. And I appreciate that.
I won’t even need to invest in my own security system, which is a big deal for me. That’s one of the major selling points for this apartment complex, right alongside the fact that the rent makes it affordable.
One day, maybe, we’ll have an in-unit washer and dryer, but that’s not one of my top priorities right now.
Paying down debt and rebuilding my credit will be more important over the coming months than renting an apartment with all the bells and whistles. The lifestyle my kids and I live in that unit doesn’t have to please anyone but us.
To me, renting this apartment will be a meaningful step up from before. And that’s just the start I need.
Would I Consider Home Ownership in the Future?
I definitely would if I believed it was attainable and would improve our lives in a meaningful way.
In other words, I’m not ruling it out. I see the value in building equity in a home. It’ll have to wait until my credit rating is in the good zone and my monthly debt payments take up far less of my income.
As for the kind of home I’d want to invest in, a 3D-printed home is at the top of my list. I would be giddy over a chance to custom-design one myself using virtual reality goggles. The sci-fi nerd in me loves that.
In fact, the more I learn about the technology, the more I love it. Maybe I’ll be the owner of one of the first 3D-printed houses in Minnesota. Could happen. And if the time comes, I’ll probably need some help finding the best location for it.
If you’re curious, check out SQ4D’s website — along with their TikTok. I’m a fan.
What do you love about renting?
If you’re renting right now, what do you love about it? And if you don’t mind sharing this in the comments, what made you choose renting over buying — at least for now?
And what would it take for you to decide you were ready to buy a home?
I wrote and self-published my first book — The Hypothyroid Writer — in October of 2016. I’ve done some minor editing of the book since then.
But this year (2021), I decided it was time to do a more through job of revising the book and to re-release it as an updated edition.
Part of the update will be a completely new book cover, courtesy of the professional book cover designer I choose for the job (So far, I like what I’m seeing at 100Covers.com).
I know I’ve designed most of my book covers myself, but this book has always had a professionally-designed cover, and I’d rather keep that up than take my chances with my own limited design skills.
Designers like the folks at 100Covers.com have spent the last few years (not to mention the years before them) honing their skills and creating covers that helped authors sell their books.
I haven’t designed a book cover since 2018. And I’d honestly love to get a new professional cover for that book, too. I’ve been focusing on other things while professional designers have only gotten better at their craft.
So, why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that?
Yes, it costs money. Professional designers who create beautiful covers deserve to be paid well for their work. And I’d love another opportunity to back that statement up with money of my own.
I’m not the same author I was back in 2016 (or even 2018). Because I’m not the same person.
A lot has happened with me since the year I published my first (and still my favorite) book. And I want the updated edition to reflect that — without nearly as much rambling. You deserve better than to have to wade through paragraphs of clutter to get to the points worth remembering.
I’ll do my best to get to the f*ing point and avoid meandering.
So, what has changed?
I won’t go into too much detail, here, but a lot has changed since 2016:
I left the Catholic Church and no longer identify as a Christian.
I no longer hold to any religion, though I don’t identify as an atheist, either.
I’ve read a number of books that have challenged my thinking (in good ways).
I’ve made a fool of myself using a blog—and learned from it (I hope).
Blogging and alcohol don’t mix, kids. Bad things happen.
I’ll post an update when the book is ready for publication. I’ll also post a sneak-peek at the new book cover when it’s ready.
Follow the blog to get email updates. If you’ve already bought the eBook, you should be able to download the updated edition at no additional cost.
Until then, thank you for taking the time to read this.
I’ve been using Cera Ve products for years and can always trust their lotions to leave my skin feeling hydrated and petal-soft.
For the perfect facial pick-me-up in the middle of the day, spritz your face and neck with your favorite facial mist. Allow it to dry and then smooth on a layer of Cera Ve Daily Moisturizing Lotion or PM (or AM) Facial Moisturizing Lotion.
Hydrating Micellar Water — no rinse formula with 3 essential ceramides and niacinamide (10 oz.) —> $9.84. I love using micellar water, because I don’t have to rinse at the sink, It’s effective (gets a surprising amount of dirt out of skin I thought was clean) and easy to use.
*** Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum — with 10% pure vitamin C, 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 (1 oz.) —> $18.84 (squeeze tube)
Resurfacing Retinol Serum — with 3 essential ceramides, licorice root extract, and niacinamide (1 oz.) —> $15.99 (pump bottle)
*** Daily Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin (face & body) — with hyaluronic acid and ceramides (19 oz) —> $17.78. While this formula doesn’t have niacinamide like the facial moisturizing lotions (for AM & PM), it comes in a large pump bottle and beautifully hydrates tired, dry skin all over.
*** PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion — ultra lightweight and hydrating with 3 essential ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid (3 oz.) —> $12.38. This is perfect for evening use, when sunlight is no longer an issue. It absorbs quickly and easily and leaves my skin feeling soothed and soft.
*** Skin Renewing Night Cream — with ceramide & peptide complex (1.7 oz) —> $13.98 (over 30,000 reviews with a 4.6 average rating).
I started with TruSkin’s Vitamin C-Plus Super Serum, because I was looking for something that had both vitamin C and retinol, among other restorative ingredients (like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid).
TruSkin uses all plant-based (vegan) ingredients in their skincare line. Every item is also cruelty-free and free of toxic chemicals.
UPDATE 5/14: I’ve taken a break from most retinol products for now, since most of them tend to cause visible irritation seconds after applying. If I find one that doesn’t, I’ll update this post with the information.
*** Daily Facial Super Toner for all skin types — with glycolic acid, vitamin C, ocean minerals, and organic anti-aging ingredients (4 oz) —> $15.99 (This is one of my top 2 toners, and I love that I can spray it on).
Cetaphil is another well-known dermatologist-recommended skincare brand, trusted for being kind to sensitive skin as well as effective for treating excema. I’m not currently using any of their products, but if I had to, I’d use the following.
UPDATE: As of around May 10th, I’ve started using the Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Sunscreen, because it’s easy to apply, doesn’t leave a whitish cast, and feels better on my skin than the thicker moisturizers with sunscreen added to them. This one is almost watery thin, but it disappears as you apply it, and the SPF 50 (hopefully) means better sun protection when I’m outside or driving.
My favorite thing, so far, from this brand is their facial spray, which feels great spritzed all over the face and neck in the middle of the day when I need a pick-me-up. They also have some facial masks worth a look. And you get 3 free samples with every order!
Right now, you can get a free gift when you spend at least $50.
The follow products each have their own brand. Some of these I found while doing an internet search on “Best [type of skincare item] under $30.” Some I learned about from random Google-generated ads on well-loved skincare products.
I keep learning, so I’ll probably add to this list as I go.
*** Anai Rui Rose Clay Facial Mask — w/ Kaolin pink clay, niacinamide, collagen, hyaluronic acid, etc. — brightening, moisturizing, anti-aging (4.05 oz.) —> $16.99. (This one came with a tiny spatula to help with slathering on an even layer).
Tempting though it is to load up on serums that promise to reverse aging, firm up your skin, and erase those fine lines and wrinkles, be careful not to use too much of these products in the space of a day.
I can say from experience that overdoing it on serums and age-defying lotions leads to angry skin. And angry skin is far more likely to break out.
If you have sensitive skin like mine, it doesn’t take much to stress it out.
So, speaking as someone who has a gift for learning things the hard way, do as the product makers suggest:
Try a dab of each product on a small area of your skin to test for reactions before you slather it on your face.
Don’t double-up on serums. More is not better.
Let your skin get used to a small amount of one product before you increase it or add another.
Use no more than the amount suggested to avoid irritating your skin and giving your face an angry red flush or weird red spots that look like an instant break-out.
Happy skin is beautiful skin. And happy skin is clean, calm, hydrated and balanced.
That’s what we’re going for.
This is Not the End
I’ll be updating this post as I learn more. The whole point here is to make it easier for you to find products your skin and your budget will love.
Also, if you have any suggestions you’d like me to check out, please share them in the comments below!
Note: I’ve revised this post after rethinking the message sent by the original draft.
“You’re so antisocial!”
You get that a lot, right? Except you’re not really “anti-” people. You just like them better in smaller doses — not because you like them less but because socializing in itself is challenging enough.
Welcome to the asocial world, where we generally prefer to spend less time socializing than the average sociable person, even if we genuinely like the people we know and work with.
Whereas antisocial behavior is openly hostile or antagonistic toward others, asocial behavior typically isn’t.
That said, sometimes, those of us who are asocial by nature can act in ways others perceive as antisocial. Sometimes, we simply shut people out — not as an expression of antipathy but because we don’t see a benefit to maintaining whatever conversation we’re shutting down.
At its simplest, it’s a cost-benefit analysis. If no one benefits, and we see no point in keeping ourselves open to one angry salvo after another, we shut it down.
I’d like to think it were that simple. Truth be told, there’s a lot more emotion involved.
That emotion is often behind my own tendency to block people to shut down a painful conversation that is making it impossible for me to focus on the things I need to do.
For the moment, I’m essentially hitting the mute button — not to shut them out forever but to create a safe space for me to process the conversation and recover from the overwhelm.
It sounds simple and reasonable. More than that, though, it’s often the only way I know how to deal with a conversation that seems unlikely to benefit either one of us.
So, why do so many people think it’s “antisocial”?
After all, the aim of the asocial person isn’t to hurt anyone. But when someone is angry with us and seems intent on making us feel small, we put up walls to protect ourselves from what feels like an attack. It’s what we’ve learned to do. And it’s a hard habit to break.
It doesn’t mean we don’t still hope we can find a way to make things better.
“Why are you like this?”
Speaking for myself, I’m honestly not sure. It could be the autism.
Some asocial people (including me) are on the autism spectrum. And autistic brains work differently from neurotypical ones. Social situations present more challenges to us, because we have a harder time picking up on other people’s nonverbal cues.
Last December, near the end of 2020, my therapist, whom I’d been talking to for a few months, told me in her own words, based on her assessment and her experience with other autistic clients, “I would say you’re definitely autistic.”
She made it clear her words didn’t amount to an official diagnosis. But I needed to hear that.
While every authoritative online test I’d found (thanks to sites by other adults with autism) had said as much, I wanted to hear it from someone who’d assessed others on the spectrum.
Since insurance doesn’t typically cover autism screening for adults, there’s widespread acceptance of self-diagnosis — based on results from authoritative online tests and/or informal assessments from counselors/therapists — in the adult autism community.
So, how is that relevant to this post?
While I’d love to think my asocial tendencies are rooted in a calm, dispassionate approach to life and to other people — as if I’m “above it all” (Ha!) — it’s more likely tied to the way my autistic brain has learned to cope with the world and other people.
Much as I love texting and email as alternatives to talking on the phone, there are a lot of nonverbal cues that go with them. There are unspoken rules about social interaction that folks with autism aren’t as likely to pick up on just by being around people.
This explains so much. I won’t go into all that in this post.
Turns out, texting and email don’t protect us from those unspoken social rules. They might make it a tad easier (which I’ll take), but I still make mistakes in the way I communicate with people via text messages.
And when things go south, I’ve been too quick to shut things down and block people. Again, it’s not because I don’t want to have anything to do with them ever again. I just need time.
So, why don’t I just say that? “Hey, I need time to think about this before I give you an answer. Please know I’ll give it serious thought. You deserve that much,” etc.
At some point, in past conversations (some of them recent), I’ve convinced myself I was being unfairly picked apart or demonized by someone who had already decided to see the worst in me. And the only way I could put an end to that was to block them.
Even then, I hoped someday I would find a way to make things better, so we could get along well again (if we had before). And even then, I suspected the conflict was at least partly my fault, and that there was something I couldn’t see yet that I needed time to process.
I wish I didn’t need so much time to get there. You’d think after years of frustrating people (as my dad would say, “You just don’t think!”) I’d have learned how to do better by now.
But I am learning.
Popular Myths about What it Means to Be Asocial
It doesn’t take much internet research to find some popular myths about what it means to be an asocial person. Some myths are more insulting than others.
Here are five worth addressing in this post:
Myth: Asocial people lack confidence.
Truth: Asocial behavior doesn’t need to have anything to do with confidence; in many cases, it’s about social habits that stem from differences in brain function. That said, in my case, confidence is definitely an issue.
Myth: Asocial people lack social skills.
Truth: While social skills can be a challenge for some who exhibit asocial behavior, plenty of asocial people are as good at socializing as anyone else. They just choose to do less of it (often because it depletes their energy). Again, in my case…. well, you get it.
Myth: Asocial people don’t care about anyone but themselves.
Truth: Asocial people tend to be jealous of their headspace and energy. They don’t like to waste it on things that aren’t their business or that benefit no one. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about other people. Speaking for myself, the more I’ve learned to be grateful for other people and what they’ve brought to my life, the more it hurts when I alienate them.
Myth: Asocial people care more about ideas or tasks than about people.
Truth: Again, asocial people are as likely to genuinely care about people as more sociable people. Their concern may just be less obvious. It’s true many asocial people are task-oriented and idea-loving creatives. Often, they’ll work behind the scenes, putting those leanings to work, to better serve the people they care about. For me, it’s been a slow learning curve, because I do spend too much time in my own head.
Myth: Asocial people don’t have friends (or don’t want any).
Truth: This is more likely to be true of someone whose behavior is antisocial (thought they don’t always intend to keep people away; antisocial behavior is more complex than that). Asocial people often have real friends. Most of those who don’t still have a genuine desire for a real and lasting friendship. In my case, my only close friends are people in my family, though I’ve made friends outside of it. I’ll readily admit I’m not easy to be friends with.
While asocial people, in general, don’t have to change who they are to fit society’s expectations, they do have to be watchful to avoid the extremes of asocial behavior, which can isolate them even from their friends and family.
What Makes Some People More Likely to be Asocial?
Often enough, asocial behavior is related to an underlying difference in the way your brain works, whether it’s something you were born with, something you developed along the way, or something that happened to you. Any of the following factors can contribute to asocial behavior:
Autism / ASD / Asperger’s
Mood Disorders — like depression or social anxiety
Traumatic Brain Injury
Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) or Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Agoraphobia (or other social phobias)
Grief / Mourning
Can asocial behavior be harmful?
It bears repeating: Asocial behavior isn’t anti-people. It’s just less sociable than what most people (with better social skills) expect.
Chances are, you’re not doing anything objectively harmful to someone else. But if your asocial behavior is consistently pushing people away or keeping them at arm’s length, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at the reasons behind it.
Whether or not your being asocial is truly maladaptive depends on whether it holds you back from accomplishing your goals. Some of those goals will have to do with relationships. Because asocial people still have (and value) those.
People still matter to us, even when our behavior seems to say otherwise.
If your asocial tendencies are holding you back, then yes, they can be harmful — to you and to your relationships with others.
So, what can you do?
You can’t please everyone. And not everyone you manage to alienate will want to reconcile with you. But the following tips can make your social life a little easier:
Schedule necessary alone time every day. Everyone needs that (some more than others).
Prioritize social time with the people closest to you. Maybe schedule a weekly game night or at least one sit-down, sociable meal every week.
Make time for meaningful conversations with friends and family members.
Find happiness and success in pursuits that are meaningful to you, even if they mean little or nothing to others.
Find a good therapist (honestly, everyone needs this, and insurance should cover weekly appointments).
Learn effective coping strategies and make them part of your day (meditation, yoga, daily walks, etc.)
Forgive your harshest critics (including yourself), and…
Remember that everyone (not just you) is struggling with something.
Build a new habit of making a list of at least ten things you’re grateful for about a person with whom you’re currently at odds (Doing this is what prompted me to revise this post.)
Find a friend who accepts and loves you just as you are.
It’s understandable if you think friends like that are impossible to find, especially when you’re not actively searching for one. It seems like wasted effort. It’s not.
You need someone in your life, outside your immediate family, who…
sees you and accepts you just as you are now,
doesn’t expect you to meet “normal” sociability standards, and
doesn’t let you get away with cloistering yourself 24/7/365.
Someone out there is looking for a friend like you. Even folks on the autism spectrum can get lonely and benefit from a real friend who appreciates your atypical brain — and not because they “have to learn to accept it.”
Keep looking. Keep risking criticism by discovering and being your authentic self. And keep stretching yourself to make the most of your gifts.
Everyone needs to step outside their comfort zone to live the life they want. And if life can be beautiful for everyone (and it can), why settle for less?
I made it past the 17 month mark*, and I thought I’d share some of the things that have been helping, so far. I know I’m still pretty new at this and others out there have more to say, but keeping track this way helps me celebrate the wins and keep going.
(*Note: I keep updating this as I reach new milestones.)
What Has Helped (So Far)
I’m well aware I’m still a newbie at this. I’m also aware there are other new recovering alcoholics out there. If anything that’s helped me (so far) can help someone else, I’ll consider this post well worth the time spent writing it.
The following list has links to make it easier to check them out. None of these are affiliate links, but I’m not ruling out using them in the future if I find out they have them.
The I Am Sober app, which keeps track of my days without alcohol (with its Daily Pledge feature) and lets me add notes to every end-of-the-day review (UPDATE: Haven’t used this in a while. It helps that my 1st day sober coincides with a family birthday).
Meditation apps — I’ve been meditating every morning for months, now, and honestly… I don’t know that I’ve gotten better at it. But it does give my day a better start. Sometimes, all I do is just spend a few minutes breathing (after brushing my teeth, downing a class of water with my thyroid meds, and getting my first cup of coffee).
Tea — mostly either Twinings (mainly Lemon Ginger, Peppermint, and Earl Gray) and Yogi Teas (Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy is my favorite morning tea). Also, my sister sent me a gift card to Jasmine Pearl Tea Company (Oregon-based), and I’ve been enjoying the teas I ordered.
The DuoLingo app (keeping my Spanish strong and now learning German)
Switching to a (mostly) plant-based diet. I have more than one reason for this. One is PKD; I’m hoping this will help me maintain healthy kidney function for years to come. Fingers crossed. I don’t mind if people around me eat meat; I’m just choosing not to for my own health reasons.
Fresh flowers — I buy small bouquets at the local Aldi and keep a vase on my desk with fresh blooms. They brighten up the room, and I can’t help smiling when I look at them.
Music (Usually with the YouTube app on my desktop while I’m writing)
Taking walks (Not often — since the area I currently live in is not pedestrian-friendly).
Working on a book (I have a few I’m working on right now — one on marriage prep and how the traditional approach to it is failing millions of couples)
It helps, too, that no one else in this house drinks alcohol. My husband has never really been a fan of alcohol and the rest of our family is too young to drink, anyway.
I’ll update this as I go along. Some items may disappear as others join the list.
And if I find books, documentaries, etc. that help me put things in perspective (often because someone I trust recommended them), I’ll add those to my Recommended page.
Welcome to my online hub. Questions are always welcome here. The comment field should be open, but if it’s not and you have questions or comments to share, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
I won’t pretend I don’t sometimes miss having a drink. But I don’t miss the way my life was when I was overdoing it. And I don’t ever want to go back to that. Life is better now — without alcohol.