The Other Side of the Fence
I’ve finally made it down off the fence. I’ve made the big decision and I’m going forward with it. In moments, I can feel my hand there on the fence rail, wanting to stay connected with what was, but my eyes are staring off in the distance of what’s to come. I’m entertaining fear and excitement daily, interesting dinner companions to be sure.
I’ve finally decided to sell my house, the place I’ve called home and sanctuary these past 17 years. I’m letting it go. And nearly everything that goes with it: a sense of security (which we all know is an illusion anyway), a sense of familiarity (the image of my creation), and a sense of who I am and where I belong (temporary ideas at best).
Usually, letting go arrives in the form of an unexpected loss, but other times we choose it because we see that giving up so much of what we think defines us allows us the freedom to start over without the worn-out definitions we carry about who we think we are.
I know a lot of people sell their homes, move and start over somewhere else. In fact, as a child, my family relocated 2-3 times each year until we reached our teen years and then only once in the four years I was in high school. When I bought this house, I swore to myself that I didn’t want that constant moving around anymore. I didn’t want my kids to have the same experience. I thought I would grow old here. I thought it was my last home, that my kids would bring their kids here for Christmas in an old-fashioned way, like over the river and through the woods.
What was I holding onto?
Then one day, the pressure and responsibility of homeownership just became too much for me to want to continue by myself. I wasn’t giving up, I told myself. I had taken care of this home and done it well for 17 years. And then I gave myself permission to stop. I just decided I didn’t have to force myself anymore. It took me a year and a few months to make up my mind for sure…I know, I’m slow.
But once I got down off that fence of decision, a whole new realm of possibilities opened up for me that I hadn’t expected. Maybe the view was just different on the other side. I know I felt different, lighter, more open. With all of my children in homes of their own, and without anything structural holding me in place, I realized what kind of freedom that offered me and a dream from long ago returned.
Wait. Let’s back up a second…
When I was 20 years old, I had these crazy plans to move to Florida. I was going to work on a cruise ship and travel. I was so close! I had aced the phone interview and they wanted me. But then, everything was interrupted when I met a man who has been so long gone from my life, I can’t even remember his face. For him, I stayed.
And in that one instant, a decision was made that altered the course of my life. So just to be clear, I have no regrets…I love what has become of my life. There are no different outcomes for what has transpired. It is well. But sitting here with the knowledge that I’m in that same position I was in 30 years ago, would I have the courage to try again?
Well, I no longer have any desire to work on a cruise ship, but the salty air and the pulsing heartbeat of the ocean have never stopped calling me. Suddenly there’s nothing to stop me from answering. I am free to go anywhere!!
I feel like a dog who has lived within a fence most of its life until someone left the gate open. I’m wondering what will happen if I simply walk right through; if I take off into the great unknown? What I do know is that I’m already over the fence and that, my friends, was the hardest part.
How many times in our lives will we give ourselves permission to simply follow our hearts? And what do we take with us when we go?
Have you ever had a desire that refuses to leave your heart? How late in life would you go after something you’ve wanted a long time?
Tell me your story…I need to hear.