Every now and again, as I drive around town, I notice different housing subdivisions emerging. It's neat to watch the city grow, but sometimes I think it grows a bit too fast. That, and some of the new subdivisions popping up are built incredibly cheaply. I don't claim to be a housing expert or real estate agent, by any means. But I can tell when people take pride in their work.

I guess what I find frustrating is the increasing amount of "Californication" I see around me. For today, I'll focus only on the houses, and save some of my other thoughts on this for another day. I know that in the past, there were "track" (or is it "tract"?) homes, in which people could choose which model house they wanted and have it built. I'll admit that while it isn't entirely original, at least houses differed in terms of color, brick choice, etc. It was the same floorplan and square footage, but otherwise the houses looked different. That, and there were quite a few homes to choose from.

Recently, I've seen whole areas in which each house looks identical to its neighbor. How boring. It takes away the fun of going over to neighbor's for a visit, to see how their house is different, or what have you. It also takes away the fun of cruising a neighborhood (e.g. on a walk, bike ride, or a drive) and looking at all the different houses. All the stucco patterns are the same shade and style, and each roof is the same as well. Generally, the yards are miniscule or practically nonexistant. With a yard that small, how can one raise kids? When I was young, I loved having a back yard to go romp around in, with a playground and sandbox, and grass. To this day, I love having a yard and absolutely need something more substantial than a 10 square foot area around the porch.

I know that much of the sameness in the housing industry is from a contracting company wanted to build as many houses as possible for the cheapest price. I personally am willing to pay a little bit more for quality and uniqueness. Also, I think that people look for the square footage in the house itself and believe that they need something huge. Huge used to be a relative measure of wealth. Wealth does not have to be shown in such terms. If you're healthy, doing what you love for a living, and/or raising a family, and are happy, then you're wealthier beyond any monetary measure.

We all have a tendency to sometimes let our materialistic world get to us. It's okay to enjoy material things, but it's good to aim for balance. Rather than all aim to be just like others and have things that others have, we should enjoy everything we have that is ours, and share it with ours. After all, it is our differences that bring us together. I use my friends as an example: the fact that we are so different from one another makes us enjoy being around each other, because other people bring new adventures, ideas, and ideas of life to our own. If I met someone who had experienced everything I had, in more or less the same way, and also had most of the same material possessions, and shared most all my interests, I might find this person somewhat boring, save in the sense of having someone to agree with me on things. But I enjoy more someone who challenges my sense of reality, and makes me think about life in new ways.

Looking back at what I just wrote, you might now be questioning what exactly that had to do with houses. I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you, except that it's got something to do with the point I was making. In any event, I think it's a pretty good point. And now I will offer some form of conclusion.

I find that people are becoming increasingly dependent on what is familiar to us. We need to push the envelope, break any bounds of what society thinks that life should be in this day and age. Live in a house that can truly be called your home. Do what you need to do for you, not what others think you should do. Take advice willingly, but ultimately the decision is yours.

And you thought houses couldn't be base for some philosophy. Think again.