Thoughts on leaving what has been my home for the last 19 years
I know people who have lived in only one or two houses their entire lives. People with long, deep roots. Over the past year I’ve read about people with no fixed address. They move from place to place, sometimes spending only a few weeks or months in one spot before moving on, house-sitting in other people’s homes.
I don’t belong to either of those camps. Yet, as the Sold sign went up on the house I’ve lived in for the past 19 years and my husband and I prepare to downsize, I found myself with mixed emotions.
My daughter spent more than half her childhood in this house. The house adapted to changes in our life and we re-arranged use of rooms to suit our lifestyle. We provided lodging to family temporarily displaced by flood waters. We entertained family and friends. I think of the things I will miss and the things I will not miss about the house. It turns out they are often the same things, two sides of the same coin.
Our four-level split allowed family to spread out and not be on top of each other. I will miss the space for entertaining. I will not miss cleaning all that space. I will not miss going up and down stairs many times a day.
Storage space has been both a blessing and a curse. It allowed us to keep things rarely used. It gave us a place to store things as we moved my mother-in-law into new lodgings with increasing levels of care on short notice. We didn’t need to think critically about whether we really needed or wanted to hang on to something. But all that stuff weighs you down. The hard work of purging over the last several weeks has been freeing.
Over the years we lived here, I created several garden spaces. I love looking at the blues and purples and pinks in my perennial garden when it is at the height of its beauty in late June and early July. I love smelling the flowers in pots on the deck and patio. I love eating vegetables fresh from the garden. I love the surprise of seeing what blooms in my native flower garden. I will miss all that. I will not miss all the work, the tilling, the weeding, the watering. I will not miss aching muscles after hours of gardening. I enjoyed my years of gardening, but am ready now to give it up.
I will miss summer evenings in our gazebo overlooking the man-made lake behind us, listening to the birds, reading, or visiting with friends. I will miss our big yard so suited for summer parties. I will not miss our big yard and the work needed to keep it looking nice.
What I miss is not so much the physical space, but the opportunities it gave us to spend time with family and friends.
We may not be able to replicate those opportunities exactly in our new space, but I look forward to creating new opportunities. It’s not about the space, but about the life in the space.