Last Wednesday I dragged the last of the unwanted items and garbage out of my house, swept and mopped the floors, left my collection of owner’s manuals and appliance warranties on the kitchen counter and walked out of the front door for the last time. Thursday morning I signed the papers and handed over the keys to the new owner. My house is no longer my house. Patrick asked me if I were sad, and my reply was not exactly–more nostalgic, that mixture of pleasure and sadness that comes from remembering something you can no longer experience. I loved my house not for the floor plan or yard or even the furnishings, although I thought it all worked well for me and my family. I loved it not for the location, even though it was awesome. My neighbors were all friendly and helpful. I really only loved my house for what it represented: the time in my life where I stood on my own and became a better me. I’m not sure how else to describe it except to say that sometime in the two years I lived there, I accepted my life for what it is in the moment. I quit worrying so much about past mistakes or future desires. I stopped caring quite so much what others expected of me and became more conscious about what I wanted for myself. My journey over the last couple of years there propelled me down a path I didn’t anticipate, but one that feels comfortable and right. I loved my house for that.
Which is also why I have no regrets at selling it. I had some people ask me if I were sure I didn’t just want to rent it out. Leave it for a backup plan. After all, some indicated, moving in with Patrick is a risk. I can see their point. It’s not like I don’t have failed relationships in my past. It’s not like those relationships didn’t cost me a lot. But love is always a risk. And for me, it’s always worth taking because the alternative offers nothing. In the end, love is the only thing we get to take with us.
After the house closing, I joked to Patrick that he was now stuck with me. He very sweetly replied, no…not stuck. After a long pause, he said it was more like trapped. Ah, yes…he does share my sarcastic sense of humor. And he has been a good sport about the take over of his once solitary house. For a guy who’s lived alone for the past ten years, he’s adapted well to having the five of us (me, my two girls, my dog and cat) invade his space, quietly carving out a room for himself in the basement yet rarely escaping to it. I love him for the way he’s expanded his world to invite me in. And I’m thankful for this new chapter in my life that includes him.
Tonight I’m thankful for a couple of things. Even though it hurts me sometimes, I’m thankful I’ve learned to look at issues or problems from more than my perspective. I’m not always great at it, but I honestly try. I think that’s the only way to see your own faults and hopefully grow as a person. And really trying to see someone else’s point of view doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but it gives a better understanding of their reactions or intentions. And it can help take away blame and allow things to simply be what they are. Not all problems are fixable, but if they’re understood, it’s easier to move past them. Of course, this assumes being at a certain level of maturity. I love being silly and childish and playful whenever I can, but at the end of the day, I also love that I grew up. It’s the only way to handle being an adult in an adult world. Which brings me to the second thing I’m thankful for tonight. As an adult, I also can handle getting my feelings hurt without lashing out at others. Or pouting. Or trying to convince others to think poorly of someone else. Again, I’m not perfect at it, but I try really hard. Of course I have close friends I confide in and complain to, but I do try not to be toxic. It’s not fair to anyone, least of all myself, if I behave that way. And it hurts to be on the receiving end of it.
Today was one of those days where I’m grateful it’s over. I volunteered my entire weekend to doing some committee work for the college. It’s been an interesting, but long day. By the end of my time tomorrow, it will be almost 20 hours of meetings. That’s more than enough for an entire week, let alone a weekend. I’m tired.
I am grateful to be part of the committee because I’ve met some interesting people from the community as well as from outside the area. I love hearing an outside view of something work-related. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own daily grind that we forget about the overall vision or the big picture of how our work informs a greater good. And our work at the college does a lot of good. I was reminded today of how much and in how many different ways we service our community. I was also reminded of how much more we can do. It’s interesting how someone’s outlook can be the deciding factor in whether that is taken positively or negatively. It can be a challenge or a burden. Thankfully, the group I am part of this weekend is more of the challenge-view type. The discussions centered around how and in what ways the challenges before us can be met. There is a movement in our community to transform our city, and the college can play a role in that transformation in many aspects. But it has to be right and sustainable and good for growth. Change for the sake of change isn’t helpful. It takes the right people to see the right opportunities for the right changes. Hopefully, by the end of our day tomorrow, we have identified a clear goal for the college and identified the right people. The growth potential for the college is exciting. And even though it means I gave up my weekend to do it, I am thankful to be part of the process.