Picture by Julie Bindeman
Moving is never fun. Well, maybe parts of it. If you have a lot of time, it can be nice to reminisce around all of the stuff that you have accumulated. We are moving from our town house to a single family house. Achieving the American Dream...so why does it feel so bittersweet?
We bought our townhouse in 2003, only a few months after we were married. We really stumbled into it, as the house had been under contract, but as a favor to my father (as he and the builder were friends), the builder held it off the market until we could look at it. We had a day to make a decision and sign a contract. We loved the house, and I remember moving in thinking, "we'll never be able to fill it up." I didn't have children at the time, but somehow my husband and I did a pretty good job of gathering stuff before our son came along.
They say that things in life happen for a reason. I tend to believe that. Buying a new home had been on our minds peripherally. We had a few we were interested in, but upon closer look, there was the big glaring hole. This is figurative...one house was situated on the property so that the basement would collect water if it rained hard. Another had been a foreclosure and the guy who rehabbed it didn't want us to get an inspection. Looking back at those houses, we feel we dodged a bullet. I had gotten pregnant with my expected second child, and so the home search stopped. When that pregnancy was terminated, I felt that I had to do something new. A change was needed. This is not necessarily the best condition to look at new homes in. In fact, when we lost a home, the pain was far more acute than what was really warranted.
A friend of ours lived in a neighborhood we liked and is always looking to add to her neighborhood hand picked neighbors. She started to send us emails of open houses. Since she knew everyone, she would get the listings fairly early on. I happened to open my email one Sunday, and found an open house for that day. We decided to go, 1/2 an hour before it began. We looked through the house. I was feeling lukewarm, as I couldn't go through another loss. My husband fell in love.
We talked it over that evening, and put in an offer. We were one of three offers, but ours was accepted. We got our house ready to put on the market, and amazingly, didn't even go to an open house as our house was under contract in 17 hours. We were able to close on the current house first, which was ideal. Now that brings me to now, as I prepare to spend the last week in our house amidst boxes. Memories of the beginning of my marriage and parenthood are all around me. I can feel how hard it will be to leave, even though we are moving to something better for us.
Why are goodbyes hard? This seems particularly poignant given the time of year we are in when goodbyes are being said to high schools. In the work I do, I find that many of my clients have difficulties saying goodbye, as it represents a loss. We go through life trying to be loss avoidant, and so it is common to run from a goodbye or downplay it. Many times, past goodbyes have not worked out, so our template for goodbye is skewed negatively. My thought is to try to approach a goodbye head on. Acknowledge the good and the bad that are inevitably associated with loss. Record it in any way you see fit: for some that is journaling or taking pictures. For others, just talking about it helps. Most often, mixed within a goodbye is a new beginning.