For 23 years I have thought about selling my house. She’s beautiful, wild and unwieldy. It’s oddly appropriate that she’s been struck by lightning twice. It’s that kind of house.
She’s full of big emotions for me. There’s so much joy and sadness rolled up in these four walls. My family home. Once it was my grandmother’s. It’s where my parents brought me home from the hospital. The place their relationship failed. Where my dad and stepmum married and divorced. The one I howled for my dad to come back to when he died and cried the tears of shame after being sexually assaulted.
After the sadness came the joy. It’s where I married my husband and brought our boys back to. Where I have bathed my boys in the same bath as I once was and marked the walls with their heights near mine.
But it is time for me to say goodbye. After so many years of agonising and wondering, the decision was easy in the end.
It’s time for us to go.
The clarity has come from several places. The first and the most boring…
We crunched the numbers
We sat down and wrote out how much it would cost for us to stay in this big fancy home in the city. It was a lot. And we can’t move out and rent it out, because of a lot weird bureaucratic reasons. No doubt the value of the property would go up and more than cover that cost, but this railed against the biggest part of the decision.
The actual cost for us to stay in the house is not just financial. To do everything that needs to be done, we would both give up doing the jobs we love and want to do, take big corporate jobs, work long hours and put the boys into care. Which would be fine if we were big corporate job people. And also fine, if we didn’t have a choice, but the truth is we have a choice. Staying would also mean no travelling or adventures for the next ten years, while we sorted this out. It would also limit our time raising chickens and nurturing vegetable gardens. All things we love doing. This is where the big ding moment came in for me.
The big ding
Right now, we have the huge privilege of choosing how we would like to live our lives. A privilege that so few people have. But what does that mean? How would we like to live? It’s taken a long time for us to get a sense of it. We’ve thought about the things that were important to us when we were young and the things we’ve felt passionate about over the years, but it was last year while running the Slow Road workshops with Brooke, from Slow Your Home Podcast where the big ding came.
For me the general gist of my legacy was about love, laughter and approaching life as a grand adventure with work projects, cooking, gardening and of course travelling. Funnily enough, there was no mention of waiting around, holding up a house. No matter how lovely the house is.
The woo-woo part of the decision
I have an uncomfortable relationship with signs from god or the universe, because it feels important for me to work this decision-making business out for myself. I like to think I know myself well enough that I can identify what feels right for me.
However, towards the end of last year, I found myself staring out our kitchen window at a baby bird dangling from a string tangled in its nest. We tried to save it and even the local fire brigade couldn’t get up to the bird, because of the tall, skinny tree and bad access. It was so sad and the whole experience left me with the most uncomfortable feeling and a phrase going over and over in my brain – ‘a bird tied to the nest cannot fly,’ but I couldn’t cement a big decision, because of a dead bird, could I?
My wise and funny friend, Clare Patience, said to me it’s not that it happened that’s important, but it’s how it made you feel that is relevant, because someone else would have a completely different response. Like I said, a wise lady.
I can’t believe that’s never occurred to me before. Yup, it sounds ridiculous to write it, but I could see a part of me in that dangling bird. I didn’t want to die tied to a nest. I wanted a home that supported me, so I could feel brave and go out into the world, a haven rather than a noose.
Funnily enough, we fell in love with an old orchard by a river, not too far out of town, so we can keep our jobs by working remotely with the odd trip to town. A lovely place to raise children, chickens, vegetable gardens and reduce expenses to allow us to go adventuring.
The funny thing was, the first time we viewed our new home, we saw the biggest eagle any of us has ever seen. And while I still have trouble believing in omens, it left me wanting to soar with the eagles, not tied to a nest.
Let the adventures unfold…
What are the big decisions you’re facing?
If you’d like a blow-by-blow account of the dead bird incident, you can head to this podcast with Brooke.