x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Seeking a sure thing in life, or at least in housing

Moving residences - again - may not be the worst thing, but it is still a challenge.

There's a droll scene in French Kiss when Meg Ryan's character explains how she came to the realisation that no adult can protect themselves from everything going wrong. A little bit of soul-searching made her realise that there's no home safe enough, no relationship, job or country secure enough, no situation stable enough, and if you think otherwise, then you're just setting yourself up for an even bigger fall.

Despite chuckling over that scene numerous times, I never really understood it until lately. I've always associated marriage with an end to uncertainty. I've picked someone to be by my side for the rest of my life, so I automatically assumed that everything else in life will be as clear-cut and dependable.

Wrong. Mr T and I will not be renewing the lease on our dream apartment, which we thought we'd be calling home for as long as we were in the UAE. Instead, and for the fourth time in less than three years, I am apartment hunting. Again.

At first, I was depressed and terrible at hiding it. Instead of welcoming another year in a home we had taken our time decorating and perfecting, we had to dismantle our surroundings all over again and start from scratch. I couldn't imagine finding another place I'd love as much, and there was no way I would get out of selling some of our furniture. All our belongings had to be re-evaluated after we had worked so hard on amassing them carefully.

Mr T tried to help by pointing out our blessings and the fact that we only really need each other. I get those things. I understand that there are priorities, and having to move yet again is not the worst thing in the world.

And yet, I hated this feeling of transient existence, of not being able to rely on anything because everything was subject to change.

Perhaps it is living as an expatriate in a home preceded by the word "temporary" that has me feeling that our "real" life as a married couple has yet to start. Perhaps it's the feeling that our status is not reliant on our means, our financial portfolio, our mood, our choices. It is, instead, directly related to one's job, which is the only reason most of us are here in the first place.

If your apartment is in your company's name and you change jobs, then you will most probably have to change apartments. If a recession hits and you don't get a salary increase or bonus that you had counted on, then everything has to be reconsidered and a move might become inevitable.

And so it goes. Every few months, or a year at most, you are forced to reassess your circumstances and change accordingly. And if you allow yourself to dwell on the unfairness of it all, or how you never thought adult life would be so difficult, or how this isn't what you anticipated, then the fall down from the platform of high expectations will be that much greater.

Besides, things may get worse, but they also always get better. I watched French Kiss for an instant mood-lift, and then we happened to find another place to live - one that has me excited about the next step.

I guess dreams, like everything else, tend to change as well.