Life has a way of interfering with itself, and any event (wedding, move, illness, loss, whatever) has the power, should we grant it, to sidetrack us right out of the game.
Such was the case when I sold our family house after 21 years of cushy stability and sameness. It was my choice to do so and I was excited to make this change because I was sure I would discover something “new.”
I roll easily through life-shifts, but this one touched me in ways I never expected. To the outside, it’s just a box of junk here and a couch there, but to me it was “that’s where my daughter cried after losing her first job” or “this box is filled with my son’s little-league trophies” or “my God, was I ever that young?” Digging though this treasure trove of two decades was my defining moment.
While I love my new home and all the “news” that go with it—neighbors, neighborhood, surroundings, friends and routines, the energy it took for me to physically close out the old and embrace this newness was as close as I will get to climbing Mt. Everest, and it depleted me (mostly emotionally) as if I had. Typically, the writer in me sends me to the keyboard to work these things out, yet that is not what happened. Instead, my fingers froze. I wasn’t ready to express how I was feeling because the words had not yet formed.
It was time to just feel. What was I going to do with this new phase? Thoughts and ideas came poking through like fragile spring buds on the last days of winter. Ultimately, it was the simple-ness of these thoughts and ideas—and not the move itself—that finally brought me, after nearly two months, to beautiful, healing tears.
In that moment, the lights came on in my heart, never to be dimmed again, and I understood that what you take with you is not stuff, but memories, lessons, scents, tastes, smells, laughter and love. I understood that where you go is not just forward but deeper. I understood that growth means you travel lighter and spread more love. I understood that what fills my heart is the same no matter what my address is. Now, in this afternoon of my life, gratitude runs though my veins like the blood that sustains me. I am having more fun and appreciating things like never before.
This change has been like opening that Christmas present and finding something you did not expect or even know you wanted. What I have learned is this: We already have what we need. We just need to see it.