For the longest time I felt confined to our house and neighborhood. But now that we’re getting ready to leave, I’m seeing things differently.
The snow swirls on the pure white street ahead of me. Mountains loom daunting and impressive. Light filters through trees. The homes, including mine, look magically warm and cozy against the austere, blue-toned beauty of an Alaska winter morning.
I woke up last night on the couch, disoriented from jet lag and confused about where I was. Then I remembered – I am in my home in Alaska, not in New York City, or Massachusetts, or on an airplane somewhere. I felt an immediate pang of regret. It’s so comfortable here, I thought. Why do we have to leave?
Maybe it’s just my own stubbornness of going with the choices I’ve made, combined with a fear of what it would be like to have regrets, but I am sure we are making the right decision by moving. Our house is, indeed, very comfortable.
But you know what’s not? What’s not comfortable is feeling tied to a particular income level to sustain it; meaning actually having to work a certain number of hours and at a certain level to follow through on mortgage payments, bills, and the many fun unknowns of homeownership.
On one level, “we’ve made it”, but on another level we have to make it every single day in order to sustain it. That to me is confining and limiting in that it eliminates an enormous element of choice in what we do with our time. Let me say that again: being beholden to what is essentially debt makes it so that I get less of a say in what I do with my own finite life.
That is terrifying enough to me to propel away from the comfort of this very beautiful home with its many wonderful memories.
I’m going through the strange exercise of walking through the house and taking pictures of furniture we either need to sell or store. I’m advocating for a big sell-off. Stuff comes with convenience and comfort, yes, but it’s also just more to maintain when we have to stick it in storage and pay on it every month.
As I feel the waves of sadness and uncertainty about the fact that we’re actually doing it; we’re actually in the process of leaving this phase of our lives, I think about how this setting and these pieces of furniture weren’t ever really permanent. Even the memories here just leave feelings, relationships, moments, and overall the glowing and ephemeral haziness of an era characterized in part by these things, but mostly the experiences they assisted in curating.
We were the ones, with friends and family, who brought those experiences to life.
And we’ll continue to do that.
I know the feeling of trying to hang onto something too tight. And that’s what I’m experiencing right now. That’s okay, it’s part of the hugging before letting go. It’s certainly laced with sadness, but another part of me is grateful to have these final weeks pining for the place in which I still live. It means I have experienced something important and valuable; something that’s worth missing even while I still have it. It’s a sign that the memories from here will be good, and both support and propel us into whatever this next phase in our lives will bring.