I Can't Find My Keys

I Can't Find My Keys

By Moe Long • Rumble Contributor | Like many millennials, I was sold the hope of a college degree and told that if I followed this path of education into a career, I'd be set. In fact, I was often told I’d be much better off than those who didn’t seek this path.  

Go to college. 

Get a degree.

Get more education if your degree requires it.

Get a job.

Keep up with your credit, that’ll come in handy later on.

Related Items

Get a house.

Start a family.

The old white-picket-fence dream. 

This was presented in a way to us that was supposed to be linear: mapped out by those who came before us, most of whom absolutely did not follow that methodology, but assumed they knew best.

So, I went to college.

I got two degrees.

I got a job.

I’ve kept up with my credit.

And now, I’m at the phase where I want to buy a house. 

I have been searching for a home for the last 3-4 months now. I've bid on several homes, I don’t know how many because I honestly stopped counting after the third loss. Nothing has worked out yet.

I keep getting messages from friends who are supporting me through this phase and they all say things like, "it'll work out," or, "you've just not found the right home," and in the beginning, I believed that. 

But I'm working on a budget and a timeline. I'm bidding on homes that are only okay. I'm looking at homes in spots I don't want to live. I'm deciphering whether or not what is in my budget is something I can then afford to fix up so that it's live-in-able because, truthfully, most of the homes I've looked at within my budget are either not live-in-able, or they are in a place I'm not willing to move. And if it is in my budget and move-in-able, I'm losing the bid by tens of thousands of dollars — some of which are offered up in cash.  

So I'm at a loss. I'm 27, I followed the map. I'm a single-income woman who has taken on corporate America despite dreaming of becoming a writer (because, stability and health insurance). I'm in a town I didn't want to be in (because, graduate school and moving home to afford graduate school and then a global pandemic preventing any sort of move).

I got a credit card even though that scared me because I already owe so much in student debt and prefer the idea of just paying for what I can, when I can…but the system wants me to prove I can play their game…so I'm doing that. I'm playing the system's game. And I'm still losing, even with the odds stacked in my favor. 

I fought off a panic-attack in Wal-Mart yesterday. I walked past all of the seeds in the gardening center and immediately felt out of breath. I turned and hurried towards the check-out. Spring is one of my favorite seasons because all I want to do is plan my garden. There's no sense in planning a garden when you don't even know where you'll be in a few months. 

I'm 27, I'm employed at a decent job and with decent pay, and I don't know where I'll be living in a few months.  

I come with pets, so renting a home that allows my small collection of dogs and a fat cat is tough to find. Renting is so expensive that it equals or is more than a mortgage. An apartment is a no-go, and honestly not worth it because rent in an apartment is the same as a mortgage around these parts. Add onto that payment the additional pet fee (X 4) and I'm shit out of luck.

My friends keep telling me, "You'll find the right place," and, "If I have faith that anyone can do it, it's you." 

And my response is this: I feel like I've been handed a lanyard and over the course of this lifetime, I’ve gathered keys. It's now stacked with keys and, despite my best efforts, I cannot find the key to unlock this problem. There should be a solution. Either the key is on this lanyard and I don't know how to use it correctly, or it was never given to me in the first place.  

And maybe it doesn't matter either way, because experts don't think this housing crisis — this inflation — is going to end any time soon. 

So if you're up for it, follow along as I give you a play-by-play of what it's like to not buy a house in this insane market. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll prove myself wrong and find a key I can pass off to you, should you find yourself in a similar situation.


Moe Long works as a Technical Writer and Proposal Coordinator in corporate America and has her MA in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. When  not working, you can find her playing outside with her dogs, trying her hand at gardening, or at a local brewery. She hopes to pursue a career writing more op/ed pieces and essays! 




Leave a comment


  • The fact that you are still single and own all these pets indicates you are not inclined towards a meaningful relationship. It's very disingenuous of you to state that you were completely following the linear path that was mapped out.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Monday, 01/31/2022

  • Keep chasing your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. I believe you will be an asset to any organization, caring and driven.

    You are a very Smart and Pretty young lady
    I enjoyed reading your publication, life as we know it.
    I believe in education, however trade schools should expand because some people are not interested in desk jobs but want to learn how to weld, build, repair things and learn electrical wiring.

    You take care!

    posted by Gary Franks

    Friday, 01/28/2022

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.