Growing up, when it came to property ownership, I always bought into the classic American dream: I’d get married, start a family, die unexpectedly in a freak gas fire, and then own my own three-bed, two-bath clapboard home to have and haunt as a ghost for eternity. Alas, as any young millennial in this phase of her afterlife knows, affording a home in this market is about as likely as colliding with a living human and NOT effortlessly passing through their solid, corporeal flesh sending a chill down the spine. It simply is not done.

It was easy enough for ghosts of my parents’ generations to find their own homes to torment. Sprawling estates in the moody English countryside. Severe New England manors atop sinister hills. Abandoned temples overgrown with moss. Real estate was booming!

But now, with inflation skyrocketing and wages stagnating, it’s next to impossible for a young ghost to scrape together the 100K-plus bones for a down payment. And I do quite literally mean bones, which is what we use for currency in the spiritual realm. Last I checked, the average spooky skeleton has only 206 bones in its whole body! How’s a first-time home haunter supposed to come up with that kind of moolah?

Then, of course, there’s the issue of supply and demand, as fewer and fewer homes go on the market each year. Demons, ghosts, and ghouls just aren’t peacefully passing over into the afterlife the way they used to. Instead, they’re haunting the same home for three, four, even five hundred years, before begging to finally be released into oblivion.

At this rate, I’ll be haunting with roommates until I’m forty decades old. Sure, at first having a few roommates wasn’t so bad. There was always someone around to make sure that doors unexpectedly swing open, or to check that you turned the lights off and on and off and on. But after a while, not having your own space becomes frustrating, like when you want to unwind from a long day of being dead, kick back, and possess a portrait, and your roommate’s already occupied it. Or when you’re trying to get a peaceful night’s rest, and your roommate’s invited over his girlfriend, the Loudly Shrieking Lady of Saint Clair Lake.

Maybe eventually, I’ll be able to save up to afford a small little place, like a studio apartment or an oil lamp, but don’t get me started on how little square footage you get in an oil lamp. That hardly leaves much room to host, let alone haunt.

I suppose I could always try to move somewhere with a less competitive market, where prices are lower, but my unfinished business in the mortal realm firmly ties me to a VHCOL city that’s ideally on the coast and has temperate year-round weather.

Ultimately, perhaps I just have to accept that some dreams, like owning that three-bed, two-bath clapboard home, are meant to die, becoming ghosts of our own to haunt us and—oh! I’m fading! Guess that tidy realization has finally released me into oblivion—now that is some serious square footage.