A house, an ending and a beginning

A house, an ending and a beginning

ExpectationI haven’t been able to write for the last several weeks–getting my house ready for sale would be the easiest excuse–the cleaner, less emotional answer. The truth is that this whole decision to move has created all kinds of unexpected emotions. It was a smart decision and one I made of my own free will a few months ago. The house is too big for one person. I want a simpler life. I want to be debt-free. Now I find it’s a matter of needing to let go and move on. And while that sounds so practical and wise, it’s awfully damned difficult.

With a signed contract (fingers crossed) and 79 days left in the house, I’m in the midst of an identity crisis. Or is it a housing crisis?  I can’t actually ‘see’ myself anyplace else. There are bound to be plenty of options but it’s more than just finding an available spot, it needs to feel right.

So, I ran away; I’m at the beach. Proximity to water always seems to open me up. This morning’s writing brought forth a couple of “aha” moments. The house, my deceased husband’s childhood home, has been a place I’ve loved since the first time I laid eyes on it in 1975. Forty years. It has been my home for the last 16 years. I’m leaving, I’m finally closing a door on that part of my life. I’ve been grieving without understanding who or what I was grieving for–until this morning. Myself. The life a young 22-year-old woman expected as she walked down the aisle. The life that kept bumping up against big obstacles and challenges. I find myself in a “Now what?” place.

The idea of leaving this too-large house, becoming debt free, and living a less cluttered life seemed inspiring at the time. I hadn’t expected to feel so emotional (and a little lost) in the process. I’m having to let go of expectation. And, a large dose of judgment about what my life ‘ought’ to look like.

What the hell does life look like at 60? I have no concrete answer to that. Life is what we make of it. And, I’m giving myself the greatest opportunity of my whole life, really. I get to create whatever I want. I get to take care of me—finally—without fretting over what ‘people’ think. No rules, no expectations, no restraints–and that’s scary as hell if you’ve lived a somewhat controlled, vigilant life.

I’ve done one round of uncluttering and scaling down–in terms of personal possessions. Now it’s time to dig deeper. To open doors and examine it all. This house selling isn’t as much about the house in literal terms as it is swapping out my old life for a more satisfying experience suited to who I am right now and how I want to live for the next 30 years.

I will figure it out, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m looking at housing options, trying to intuit what feels like the right fit for this next stage. I am reminding myself that this is an exciting opportunity. Change can be challenging and much of it is about attitude. Shifts can create an opening for unexpected new delights and challenges. I remind myself that I should be grateful to have this opportunity.

22 Comments
  • colleen
    Posted at 11:18h, 11 May Reply

    I too sold the family home just last year after the divorce mid life. And while all the logic in the world about the size and space not being right for my life still holds true, when it came time to lock the doors for the final time and turn in the keys I found myself on my knees in the large family room weeping at the finality of leaving the place where I raised my family. I thanked that home for the memories it gave me, wished it the ability to do the same for the next owners and still look back fondly on that period.

    I’m in a smaller place, with less “things” it does feel like a new chapter but I was like you caught off guard in the moment about how much more difficult it was to let go of the house.

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:34h, 11 May Reply

      Colleen, yes it is a difficult place to be. I know I’ll be just fine and hopefully I’ll fall in love with the next ‘home’. It’s all about transitions, isn’t it? Best to you.

  • suzanneyoung253762575
    Posted at 11:21h, 11 May Reply

    I can imagine how you are feeling about a home that has been a part of your life for so very long. I was incredibly sad when I sold a car that I loved. I think looking at all the new opportunities a new home will bring will get you through the next 79. Just keep reminding yourself how many less rooms will you will now have to clean!

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:35h, 11 May Reply

      Ha ha… yes, the cleaning thing. Not my forte! I do look forward to something cozier–it’s important for all of us to look forward and not backwards. Though easier said than done sometimes! Thanks for your support.

  • barbarashallue
    Posted at 11:22h, 11 May Reply

    It’s a huge change at any time of life, but as you said, you’re doing much more than changing homes. I wonder if anyone’s life at 60 looks like they expected it to at 22? I’m 56, but mine sure doesn’t. The practical side of me knows we’re going to have to consider selling/buying soon, but I hate the thought of it and keep silencing that practical voice. Best wishes to you. Look at it as an adventure, as much as possible! And, as a Realtor, I highly recommend finding a good agent to help you find just the right place and help you through this transition!

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:33h, 11 May Reply

      Barbara, I have a great agent selling my house, so she’s assisting me. Much of this is mental and I just need to see it through and really focus on what I want.

  • Carol Cassara (@ccassara)
    Posted at 11:34h, 11 May Reply

    It sounds like you are working through so many issues at once; leaving a home can do that to you. It also sounds like you will find your way. It can be daunting to have so many options and to choose among them the one you think will be a fit. But even if you choose one and later want something else, no harm done. One thing you could do is rent temporarily to test the waters. I’ve done that. It can work. blessings to you, my friend, as you walk through this life change!

    • Walker
      Posted at 13:02h, 11 May Reply

      Yep, a floodgate of stuff coming at me in this stage!
      I am planning on renting unless the perfect house/townhouse should appear. Maybe I’ll rent from here on out–I don’t know yet. Thanks for the kind words Carol, I’ll get through this with flying colors, it just doesn’t feel that way quite yet.

  • Fifty Jewels
    Posted at 12:08h, 11 May Reply

    Walker, I hear you so clearly. Thank you for being open enough to share. I’m having similar emotions about ‘how things should look’ at this stage in life, even though I actively made the decisions that created the life I now have. I read something recently that encapsulated what I’ve been feeling: ‘The empty nest comes with an automatic loss of community.’ When we make a left turn, we do it alone.

    • Walker
      Posted at 13:04h, 11 May Reply

      Hi, Fifty Jewels… I’m right there… I also actively made decisions that led to this place, though I’ve had a hefty dose of unplanned, unexpected things as well.
      I’m a firm believer in sharing things that I know others will relate to. It’s helpful to feel a sense of community as we go through certain stages. Glad this resonated for you.

  • midlifecrisisqueen
    Posted at 13:32h, 11 May Reply

    WONDERFUL NEWS! Yes, moving on is soooooooooo emotional isn’t it? It surprised me last May when I was going through a similar letting go process. It’s what needs to happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy….

    • Walker
      Posted at 15:27h, 11 May Reply

      Laura Lee, I think that’s the real answer, “Tt’s what need to happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy…” And, thanks!

  • Laura
    Posted at 16:15h, 11 May Reply

    Beautiful! You will figure it out and it will unfold for you with grace.

    • Walker
      Posted at 20:10h, 11 May Reply

      I love that Laura, “it will unfold…with grace”. Thank you.

  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com
    Posted at 17:42h, 11 May Reply

    Hey Walker! Congratulations!!!! And good for you for being so honest with yourself about all your issues. And because you’ve got an offer so quickly that means that you’ve done much more work on yourself than you might even realize. As a long time real estate broker I’ve seen houses sit and sit on the market and the theory is that a house WILL NOT SELL until the owner is good and ready to let go. I tend to believe that we hang on psychologically and spiritually until it’s time. It sounds like you are ready and that is the most important step. Will it be scary? Yeah? But most things that are exciting and new and challenging and hopeful are. Just keep breathing and walking forward. I can’t wait to see what comes next. ~Kathy

    • Walker
      Posted at 20:12h, 11 May Reply

      Interesting perspective Kathy. I am ready, while being terrified! And, it can and will be immensely satisfying and freeing–once I allow myself to go there. I can’t wait either!! Ha ha…

  • Knnmjje6
    Posted at 20:00h, 11 May Reply

    Walker – This is so lovely. So heartfelt, so hopeful. May you be blessed with insight – excitement for the future and little sorrow for the past. Many hands and hearts are holding yours as you transition to the next step.

    • Walker
      Posted at 20:13h, 11 May Reply

      K-thanks. There is a mixture and I’m uplifted knowing that people like you are here to support me as I move forward.

  • LeisaHammett
    Posted at 20:23h, 11 May Reply

    <3 Love this. Very healing. Very healthy. Very whole. In the process. Thank you for sharing.

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:27h, 12 May Reply

      Thank you Leisa. Lovely affirmation.

  • lindalcrowe
    Posted at 16:49h, 12 May Reply

    Our 22-year old selves. I mourn them sometimes too, and I’m not even moving. Hang in there. Psychologists will tell you that any move – even ones made for all good reasons – bring about some degree of depression. It’s temporary!

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:09h, 13 May Reply

      Linda, I don’t really wish to be back at age 22–but I have thought about the expectations and hopes I had at that point. Yes, this is a stressor–the moving, downsizing, etc. I’ve experienced worse and survived! This too will pass.

Post A Comment