It just so happens that the selling of our home of five years neatly aligned with ringing in a new year.
We had time to adjust to the idea, and plenty to do. Picture a time lapse video of December, the camera hovering a respectful distance away from my every move, Sims-like. You would see:
- My husband and me shoveling nearly on the daily as more and more snow fell on Palmer, AK.
- The two of us continuously pulling items from the corners of our home more and more into the middle, setting them in piles, moving them from pile to pile as we made our decisions about their fate, and ultimately ferrying them away day by day.
- Wiping down windows, cleaning tubs, vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing, fixing, installing and re-installing.
- [The lights in the house turn brighter as it becomes less a place the place we live; more a fresh, blank slate for the next owner].
- Movers coming to take our core belongings over to a storage unit (which, in the time lapse version of things, is a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment that taught me I will now be a “hire movers they are worth every cent” person).
- At that point, nearly everything is out of the house save for some cleaning supplies in the center of the kitchen floor. Lights are bright. Wood stove is off.
- Loading up our little blue Prius with wood one subzero, alpenglow lit snowy late afternoon; locking the door behind us as we drove to our temporary abode at a friend’s empty, graciously loaned home.
The day of the official move-out wasn’t closing but when the movers came, because suddenly we didn’t have a bed to sleep in in the house anymore.
We arrived at our friends’ lovely home in a flurry of Arctic cold air swept in the door behind us, bags of random goods from our kitchen cabinet (nutritional yeast? Sure, we’ll keep that), and random, meaningful items we’d decided to hang onto. We unloaded the wood into a new stack in their driveway so we could fire up the wood stove and, eventually, the sauna.
That first Friday night we realized: hey. Tomorrow, we could do whatever we want. Yes, there’s still a little left to do at the house to get it ready for the new owners, but it’s minimal. We could have an entire day of just…fun.
I curled up on my friends’ cozy couch under a blanket in the glow of a Christmas tree with a new book, and felt relief and airiness, lighter and warmer than I had been earlier in the day or at any time that month. If there’s a visceral moment where I could tell we’d finally turned the page on this last chapter of our life, it was then.
The house we’d left was empty and in every sense except legally, not ours. Our belongings were 95% sorted. We were going to sleep in a new environment. We were less encumbered than ever before in our relationship: very little bound us, except those things we are personally committed to.
This month we’re in New Mexico. That’s right: month! I brought my consulting “kit” down south with me – a laptop, notepad, pen, mouse, and headphones; honestly it’s pretty simple – and my tabletop painting setup. The Mobile Art Studio is still in Alaska, deep in its cold storage slumber for the winter and settled in under aforementioned piles of snow. Come spring, we’ll get to hitch it up again.
But until then, I’m easing into a new chapter of life. It feels like a descent, with a view ahead that’s beautiful and promising, but remote and still coming into focus.
Still. It’s sunny where I am now. There is so much to see and explore. I’m thrilled that now that we’ve “arrived” in this new season of our lives, whatever “arrival” means in a life that just keeps on going moment by moment day by day, the overall feel and cadence of it is exactly what I wanted.