Much to my surprise, tomorrow it will have been one year since my husband and I moved from Colorado to Montana. It feels like the time absolutely flew by. We achieved quite a bit on the homestead in just a year here.
We installed a solar grid so we can be off the power grid if we chose. We repaired our well pumps & installed a top of the line water filters. We installed air conditioning because sadly that’s a thing you need now even in the Northern Rockies now. We replaced the roof on the barn and the house. We furnished the living room, dining area, and a full guest floor (come visit seriously). We built out a gym in the barn. We set up a small hydroponic system for vegetables and herbs.
That feels like a lot to when I write it out, and yet oddly it was a purchase we made just yesterday that made me feel like we’d settled in. We bought dishes.
Yes, dishes as in in plates and bowls. We bought a proper nice set of matched china. It took us an entire year of living in our first home, but we finally have something to serve our guests on.
This may require some context for the significance. We got married at city hall without anyone present. We didn’t have a registry or any kind of celebration, so we didn’t get a single gift like a serving platter or soup bowl.
It turns out if you don’t do things the traditional way, neither friend nor family will bother with the rituals of gifting midrange china to celebrate what used to be a major life milestone. I don’t think we got so much as a congratulations card let alone a teacup. Not that we’d asked anyone to do so.
Our kitchen reflects this ten years later with a hodgepodge of Ikea ceramics so chipped and mismatched it’s become a running joke. And while we are clearly willing to invest in substantial equity building activities, spending $500 to acquire dishes felt insane.
Heirlooms don’t really get passed down anymore so it’s just a consumer good. To be fair, we also thought spending the equivalent of a year’s college tuition on a wedding was a waste so maybe it’s just how we prioritize. We invest in things that will be worth more over time like company stock.
I think there has been a persistent fantasy about how millennials rely on their Boomer parents that has just never really been true for my own experience. The grind to build enough stability and cash to own a home can be nearly impossible when starter homes in middle tier cities are over half a million dollars. Letting go of things like weddings was a small sacrifice in my mind given the challenges of earning enough.
But I’ll admit to feeling a little surprised that even getting a hand with your kitchen necessities wasn’t something the older generations wanted to help the younger ones with. No wonder my generation is a bunch of workaholics with no kids.
If you own parents forget to send celebratory tokens, what hope do have for maintaining any of the social fabric of past traditions? We may as well accelerate as fast as we can into the future if we can’t even rely on the past for dishes.