I hate moving. I really, really hate moving and in fact I haven’t moved for fifteen years. As a kid, my parents moved us every few years, my father in chase of the next big thing certain that life would be better here or there. However, moving did not prove to be the magic bullet to overcome my father’s demons and alcoholism. Then I married and my first husband was much like my father leading us to move nine times in seven years. When I finally bought my current house in 2000, I was done with moving. So done in fact that when my current husband brought up moving out of town, I was adamantly against it. I had moved enough.
Moving would cost us so much more money, a bigger house payment, we would have to sell our current home that still needed some work to make it more marketable. Plus there are all these years of accumulating things. My attic, basement and house are stuffed full of just general buying shit, inheriting more shit and just plain hoarding things I think I may use one day. As soon as we started looking at homes, we started the process of cleaning out the house. We are now on a first name basis with the volunteers at the mercy mission and they are always grateful for everything we give which makes me feel good.
The other morning, I was up early as my husband goes to work at 0530 on his day shifts and I could not go back to sleep. I got something in my head where I needed a tape measure except they were all in the garage which is at the end of our lot and not attached to the house. So I slipped on some flip flops and slipped out into the dark cool morning to retrieve the tool. There was a quarter of a moon in the west sky and the faint light of the courthouse clock below the moon. I stood there for a moment and was overtaken by memories of my life as it has passed since I moved into this house.
I married, divorced and remarried while living under its roof. For eight years I raised my two step-children full-time. My girls finished growing up here. Three high school graduations, one college graduation, numerous proms and homecomings. A swingset that evolved into a firepit area. Trees that have matured where there had been few when I moved in. Egg hunts, barbeques, decorating for Christmas, all the plants I bought with my mom or she bought for me as well as hundreds of hours and dollars spent in my gardens. A messy divorce, a home break in and many years of a bad marriage that finally ended in 2008. I stood there next to the lamppost with the autumn clematis from my mom’s yard snaking up the black metal pole nearly ready to bloom its white star flowers and felt the ghosts of my former life dancing around me.
Chilled, I forced myself out of paralysis and into the garage, snatched the tape measure and all but ran back into the house, turning on the alarm behind me as if it was a protection against the past. My life has changed drastically in fifteen years and stayed much the same as well. I am on the cusp of a new chapter of my life, the one they call the empty nest (though I hate that term). My second act which is how I prefer to see middle-age. Everything is changing and as I snuggled back under my blankets for a moment before the alarm would remind me I ned to get ready for work, I was grateful that my husband pushed to move.
One of his main points for wanting to move was there were too many memories in our house, most were good but for me, since he had only lived there seven of the fifteen years, he knew I had a bad marriage and that still hung over the house. After losing my mom, I was holding onto everything familiar and safe so he had his work cut out for him. But he was right, we need a new, fresh start. A place where this next chapter of our life can unfold. Our closest neighbors are 0.20 miles (I know because I measured it with my truck odometer) to either side with no one behind or across from us. At least for now. The sky is open and we can watch the sunrises and sunsets from our back yard. No more peering between houses or building to watch the sun go down. It is quiet and peaceful. Healing I think.
I have no idea what the next chapter of my life will bring. I plan on when things settle down to start writing more seriously, exploring entrepreneur ideas for side businesses as I always loved working for myself. Find more ways to show love. Or just read a book curled up in my recliner while overlooking the quiet fields. We can start new family traditions, have more space, the kids have room to entertain their friends or boyfriends without all of us having to be on top of each other. Maybe I will find a quiet nook to write.
Sometimes we have a tendency to burrow into what is comfortable because leaving is too much work. It’s easier to stay put, stay where we are. But I am glad my husband pulled me, albeit kicking and screaming, out of my quiet safe burrow. I needed to be out in the light again, pursue a dream that I had many years ago of owning a colonial home out in the country. Reminded me that we can own nice things, not that my current house isn’t nice but we really needed more space for years. I was too afraid of going into to debt to take the risk of owning my “dream” home. But then I also remembered thinking when my mom was dying, why didn’t she spend some of this money she had saved and saved? You definitely can’t take it with you.
So I took the leap of faith that my financial world won’t come crumbling down around me with a bigger house payment and signed the papers for a new house. I think sometimes we reach points in our life where we need a big change to shake things up, to get us cleaning out the clutter and in a way banishing the old ghosts of our former life. Ghosts that chase you down the sidewalk early in the morning in the moonlight, the ones you push back into your subconscious as you try and forget. Or you can be bold and take a new step, start a new chapter, move into a new house, start a new career, whatever it is that speaks to you personally.
Change isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s just, well, necessary. You come to a fork in the river and you pick a new direction. Here’s to moving… God help me, I own a lot of shit!