A Place of Your Own – Make it A Family Decision

I have a good friend of mine who says that everybody needs a place to “go knock it in neutral” for a while. How true. I think we all want to own place where we can go and recharge our batteries, get in tune with nature, and get away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives for a while.

Five years ago, I decided that I wanted to buy some land. I had convinced myself I needed it, but I didn’t know how to approach my wife about it. I’m not sure how it is in your family. In mine, a hunting club membership might be my decision, but a land purchase is a FAMILY decision. One day, out of the blue, I just asked her. ”Honey (I always start out this way when I want something) would you ever want to buy a little place somewhere out in the woods, with a cabin and maybe even a lake?” She didn’t even have to think about it. “No” she snapped, “I can’t even keep this house clean, why would I want another one? And you……you can’t even keep the grass cut at home. How are you going to find time to keep up another place?” Ouch!

Months after that conversation, I came home talking about a little place I had found.

I caught her at a weak moment, and off we went to see it. It was beautiful, and it was peaceful. The cabin was closer to a shack than a lodge, but it did have indoor plumbing which was definitely a plus in my wife’s book. I am not sure how I got her to agree to purchase it. Perhaps it was the fact that we were living in one of the most congested suburbs of Atlanta at the time, and after fighting traffic all week, the chirping of birds sounded a whole lot better than the honking of horns. Even so, she went into this whole land buying process with the idea we were buying my play place; my place to hunt and fish. I don’t believe she ever went into it thinking it was going to be a family retreat or a place she would enjoy.

It’s not that she dislikes the outdoors. She loves it, as long as there is a lounge chair, a beach towel, a small cooler by her side, and a body of water she can wade in when she needs a break from basking in the sun. A condo on the beach would have been more her speed, but you can’t hunt from the balcony of a condo. It also helped my situation that we couldn’t afford the ocean front condo, but that’s another story.

When we were in the process of purchasing our place, I thought the cabin would be what would sell my wife. She saw it as more work. When we walked to the lake, I saw the road as just a way to get to the lake; she looked at it and said, “Oh this is beautiful.” The gazebo didn’t matter to me, but for my wife, it is a cherished place, where she drinks her coffee and reads the newspaper. My wife loves our place in the woods as much as I do, but for different reasons. She enjoys basking in the sun (and yes, she even tries to do that in the pasture). She doesn’t hunt or fish, but she gets as excited as any of us when my son comes back with a catfish, or a deer, or a rabbit, or a squirrel. She goes there to read, to pursue her hobby of photography, to simply do nothing.

For us, owning land was a family decision with family benefits. It is our place to just go knock it in neutral for a while. If you are considering a land purchase, get the whole family involved. You’ll be glad you did. In next week’s article, we’ll discuss how you can get started down the road to land ownership.

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