Just Renting

Unthethered. Not connected…just biding time.

Do you ever feel ashamed of being a renter? These are my thoughts this week, the sense of ambivilence that I am “just renting.” I think I must have said this term at least a handful of time this week. Either not willing or not capable of ownership. RENTER sometimes goes hand in hand with BEING SINGLE.

There’s a sense of shame for not having reached or not possessing that American Ideal of Success: Ownership. Possession of something.

And often women wait to own a home, or commit to a community/profession/senseofstyle/younameit, until we are in a serious relationship. It’s like were a pile of seedlings waiting to take root but longing for someone to transplant us into furtile ground.

“Nah I am just renting….”….”For Now,” I add quickly so he won’t think I am irresponsible either fincancially or relationally bankrupt.

With the all the drama unfolding this week regarding the ill state of the bedrock of American Security—consumerism—it seems funny that this notion of shame and “just renting” are married. In fact, many greedy people enticed people into financial obligations that they could not afford. Meaning they responsibly maintain their assets.

They weren’t ready. They weren’t mature. That’s what I’ve been hearing all week: “Be glad you don’t own anything right now, you’d be suffering.” But still, the sense of shame pervades…it is the first grey hair that arrives and you pluck out, knowing that you are silly because you keep thinking about it perplexed that something so small and insignificant on its own can signify confusion and betrayal of your own logical heart.

Do you know what “To RENT” actually means? A fissure. An opening. A breach. A schism….in plain terms, something that distances. To be separate from. I am “just renting” like I am “damaged goods” or “not ready yet” despite my efforts to prove to myself and others that I am not. Rent—a thin almost imperceptible rip in the fabric of being…that I hide behind a strong façade. Rent—the notion that something is being paid for without the assurance that it is long-lasting, not really belonging in one’s complete possession, temporary, insecure and unstable. Do you ever feel as if you are just perpetually renting your life? As if you do not outright own it securely, or are just occupying space?

Sometimes this fear of not belonging anywhere, of having a spiritual sense of self and other that is “just renting” prevents authenticity. I fear rejection, abandonment, that others will think that I am not good enough. There is something to prove: it is our worth, our entitlement to be alive and occupy space. Spiritually speaking, we want to demonstrate that we are useful. We are productive. Have us on your team and you won’t be sorry!

For me, I’ve always had this internal motor driving me forward. And it worked. I did win people over, earning scholarships, gaining entry into research projects, and being the most reliable and responsible person in the room.

But renting does not satisfy for long because we seek to belong. We anticipate it. We expect it.
Underneath the value of moving from renting to owning is the desire to belong somewhere and to be known. Let’s think about that desire rather than focus on that hallmark sign of “home ownership” we equate with maturity and success. Next time we say “I am just renting…for now”

I dare you to share how you are renting your life.

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