Today’s Reverb 10 prompt asks: What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
The wisest decision “I” made this year was to move. The “I” is in quotation marks because obviously it was a “we” decision between my husband and myself. Here’s how it went.
Gradually over the course of the year, and I couldn’t tell you exactly when it began, I started feeling really unhappy. I was stressed about money, the power bills were astronomical, I felt isolated and trapped, I couldn’t even walk to a store with Xander to pick up a carton of milk, I couldn’t go ANYWHERE, my friends couldn’t come to see ME, I was tired of the bugs and the mould and the negative energy that seeped from the corners when I wasn’t looking and required almost-daily smudging. Etc. At first I just felt indefinably sad, and then more and more I felt like I wanted OUT of that house. But Matthew kept saying that it would cost more to move than to stay there, and that happiness comes from within, and what about all the space and the yard and the GOOD parts of the house? I couldn’t see the good parts any more, but I would sigh and nod and try to put it out of my mind.
September has always been a huge month for us. I’ve written about it before. If change is impending, it tends to happen in September. And at some point in September, in the middle of yet another discussion about why I was so unhappy, Matthew suggested that we move. It felt like it was out of the blue, but I am notoriously short-sighted when it comes to patterns and hints…so who knows. And I gaped at him…literally stared open-mouthed…and said “Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?!” And we half-seriously talked about it a bit and then decided the thing to do was to start researching…seeing how much rent would be in places we’d actually like to live, and to operate with the understanding that we would need to find a place that was PERFECT in order to move there.
After a few days of sending links back and forth on Skype, Matthew decided it was time to give notice…he didn’t feel right seriously moving further on this (no pun intended) without telling the landlords first. So he told them we were planning to move for financial reasons (85% true), and gave notice for January 1, which was quite a bit of time. I’m laughing at us in hindsight…
I booked a couple of apartment viewings. Apartment-hunting is always stressful because we have cats, and the kinds of places we like to live are NOT big fans of cats. But I found a few. The landlords called and asked us to hold off on signing anything because they were trying to find a way to help us out…but I booked one more viewing after they called. It was right next door to the building we’d brought brand-new Xander home to and across the parking lot from the building where we’d first lived together, and I thought it would be funny to see what the third and last building looked like on the inside. Matthew thought I was crazy, but I said “What the hell, let’s just go and see it for fun. If this apartment’s nice, maybe they’ll have openings for later in the year.”
So we went. And we looked. And it was perfect. The right number of rooms, the right appliances, the right cat policy, a super who seemed to be on his game, the right location, the right price ($50 cheaper than the house, but with heat included). The entire way home Matthew kept saying “It’s…perfect,” and I kept going “Shit….fuck….crap…shit.” Because it WAS perfect…apart from the fact that the lease started on October 1st.
We consulted with my mom (partly because I wanted another opinion, and partly because we were not going to be able to make this move without some major financial help), and she said it sounded like we needed to go for it. So we did. I called the landlords and grovelled so much that they didn’t have the heart to be mad at me. And then I researched and booked the movers and packed pretty much the entire house single-handedly in the span of a few weeks (did I mention that we were already committed to a family trip to Ontario with my parents between October 2nd and 11th? No? Oh, yeah…we were). I also sold enough of our unneeded crap on kijiji that we actually financed most of the move that way…the movers and the cleaners, anyway.
The vacation came and went (and was fun…but LONG and very non-relaxing)…and then we were home and had 4 days left before Moving Day. My 30th birthday was the day before. I spent it in a frenzy of packing with some wonderful friends who came to help.
And then suddenly it was Time to Move, and the movers came and everything happened and we had a New Place to Live. And we took the rest of the month to finish up the house…moving the last little bits, getting someone to haul away the junk, booking the cleaners…all of that. Every time I went to that house I hated it more. And when we gave back the keys on October 31st I was so ridiculously happy. It felt like an immense weight had been lifted off my chest.
Almost two months have passed since we moved out of the house, and I find that I’m able to separate the house itself from the time we spent there. I know I’ve written a lot of negative stuff about the house itself, but the time we spent there wasn’t all bad. We had good times there. Xander learned to walk and talk there. I started this blog there. I wrote a lot and danced a bit and did a lot of inner work. I learned to make pie and cheesecake.
I don’t miss the house. But I appreciate what our 15 months in it brought us. And that makes me happy. I hated the place, but not the life we lived. That’s important.
(ETA: My inner critic is hassling me about writing about a decision I didn’t make by myself. To which I respond, “I’m a Libra. I don’t EVER make decisions by myself. So there.” It’s mostly true. I didn’t really want to write about my decision to get bangs…although it was a REALLY good decision and I adore them. Plus, if the hairdresser had told me not to, I wouldn’t have gotten them…so I don’t know if that was really a solo choice either :-P)