To take pleasure in everyday life, we tell ourselves a few everyday lies. These might include, “I love my job”, “I will read Ulysses” or “the diet starts next week”. Another delusion some of us low- and middle-income earners uphold is “renting gives me so much freedom”. Those of us about as likely to own a residential property as we are to read the collected works of James Joyce sometimes tell ourselves porkies. With no secure place to live, we live inside a silver lining.
We say, “I don’t want to be tied down like those mortgagee losers!” or, if we read some anarchists in high school, “property is theft!”. This is irrational self-trickery. But it’s of a fairly pardonable sort. When you’re on a stagnant wage, your most valuable asset is a smartphone with three months left on its lease and an expensively dressed 20-year-old property manager blows into your home every six months with a clipboard and the reminder that you should really buy more bleach, there’s nothing else for it but to lie to yourself. “I am so happy I didn’t fall into the trap of home ownership” is a thing that I sometimes utter in private.