From Downsizing to "Rightsizing"
Last April, my husband and I decided to do the reasonable thing: sell our house and move into a condo. Mike is near retirement and this move would eliminate our mortgage as well as yard work and exterior maintenance. We would be within easy walking distance of Mike's office, the grocery store, the bank and the post office. All positive changes, right?
But neither of us was excited about the move. We were not moving to our "dream house" and in some ways it felt like giving up. We always imagined that we would "downsize" to a quaint little cottage on a mountain lake somewhere, not a condominium in the suburbs.
Once we put our house on the market, things moved really fast. Our house sold in less than a week and we had to move out only two weeks after that! Again, how fortunate for us to be able to sell so quickly and to receive more than what we had asked for!* (*If you're looking for a good realtor, call my sister Pat.) But my head was spinning and something inside me was screaming, "Stop! I'm not ready!!"
What I have learned over the past eight months is that sometimes even positive changes involve a grieving process.
I now realize that I have been going through something of a grieving process of my own, which explains why I have been unable to write much of anything since April. Although I have been able to continue my work with clients and provide group facilitation, my writing has moved to the back burner simply because I haven't had the energy for it.
Now, as I am beginning to move into the "acceptance" phase of my grief about the move, and am actually starting to feel grateful for it, the emotional weight is lifting so that I can begin to engage more fully in my work.
I was explaining our move to someone recently and she very wisely said, "You didn't downsize, you rightsized." She was right. This space is just the right size for us. We have plenty of room and it has eased a financial burden to move here. And I do not miss worrying about Mike blowing pine tags off the roof!
One of my primary concerns was that once we moved, our grown daughter would no longer feel she had a home to come home to. But even though this move was just as difficult for her, Haley reassured me with, "Mom, it's not about the house. Home is wherever you are."
Once we get things arranged the way we want them and fully settle in, I feel sure it will feel like home.
We all suffer many losses throughout our lives, some more severe than others. Letting go of something or someone we love is never easy and it's okay to acknowledge the pain and mourn what we have lost. Not only is it okay, it is in our nature as human beings to grieve.
The seasons remind us that everything changes. But as the cold winds blow and trees lose their leaves, we realize their wintry barrenness does not mean death forever. Before we know it, there will be signs of new life everywhere.