As the saying goes, if you love something set it free. This Valentine’s Day we set free what we loved most. Something that has been both a burden and a blessing, a source of pride and angst. Love will do that to you – cause you to love and be in pain at the same time. The letting go was a mostly mutual decision, and like all good-byes, this was the best decision. Now we are both free to move on and explore what else is out there.
Yes, friends, my husband and I sold our house.
I’d been warned not to fall in love with real estate, because you’ll only get your heart broken. When I saw our house for the first time though, I fell in love, and there was no turning back. The hardwood floors, the spacious kitchen, granite countertops, new appliances, and carpet were all so appealing. Three beautiful aspen trees out front – my favorite tree – seemed to be practically begging me to make them mine. There was a fenced-in back yard, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a park at the end of the street. You couldn’t ask for a better spot to live or more friendly neighbors. We closed and moved in about this time 4 years ago, and it’s been one hell of a ride ever since. Love is not without its flaws. Love will make you blind.
Like any relationship, the newness faded and the house became more of a burden than a blessing. After my maternity leave last year we never quite recovered financially, and reality set in about our future together. My husband and I have wanderlust. We love to travel, explore new countries and cities, and spend our nights camping under the stars in the summer. We have always lived in small spaces, from a 400 square foot studio apartment to a 900 square foot house. This 2,600 square foot house we owned gave us space to roam, but only within the confines of its walls. The house was an anchor, and we were drowning. That’s how relationships become sometimes – they smother you, weigh you down, give you anxiety, and hold you hostage. We saw our future together and it became clear that we were no longer good for each other. Time to move on.
There were many tears, of course, as there always are when you’re breaking up. We questioned whether we were making the right decision. One night, while packing, my husband pointed out that it wasn’t important that we were leaving the house because we got to keep what was inside. “The house is just a shell to hold all of our stuff. We get to take everything with us when we go,” he said. This statement made me realize that most of life is made up of shells and containers, which hold our treasures. Wooden frames show pictures of moments we want to remember. Bindings of books contain the words of our favorite stories. Our heart is a muscle that holds all our love and feelings inside. The body is a shell in which the soul resides. When we leave this earth we leave the vehicle that drove our soul around, but the most important part of us moves on.
What stays in one place decays.
Without movement there is decay and stagnation. What sits in one space for too long eventually becomes obsolete or dies. When water becomes stagnate it becomes full of bacteria, turns brown and murky. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and I have to think the same thing happens to us when we stop moving and stop going with the flow.
For four years we stayed in one spot, and you wouldn’t believe what we accumulated. A lot had to be thrown away, most went in storage, and only a small relevant part holds a space in our new place now with us. We could have stayed in that one house the rest of our lives and never known the world outside those walls. But, we are not people who like to remain still, and our urge to be free was too strong to deny.
Two of the aspen trees in front of our house eventually died, and we had to cut them down. To me, it was a sign from the universe that if we stayed too long our fate might be the same. We’d live and die in one space and only our stumps would remain… an empty shell of what was once beautiful. Now we are free to seek out the beauty of the world, to wander for as long as we like, and to find a new shell to call home.
We’re free. What a relief.
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About the Author: Natalie Magee writes a regular column for Happiness Series about what motherhood and beyond - from prenatal to postpartum. Her intention with her column, "Baby & Beyond - What No One Else Will Tell You" is to give practical advice and tips to the busy mom and mom-to-be. She also shares her experiences good, bad and ugly as a woman, wife, mom, flight attendant and fitness instructor. Natalie is also a regular fitness contributor on Happiness Series. She will continue to create great, effective workouts for anyone - including the busy moms out there - who wants to get fit and stay in shape.