How long does it take you to make a big decision? A few hours? weeks? months? Would taking a year to make a big decision seem like overkill?
That’s how long I’ve given myself to make a decision on whether or not to sell my house or stay. I don’t know the right amount of time and it kind of feels weird to admit that I’m in the middle of deciding and not yet having made the decision…and knowing I’m taking my own damn time about it.
You see I love everything about my house…except I’m kind of over the responsibility. And I truly believe we choose what to be responsible for and we should be responsible enough with our lives and the things in it to know when our desire to maintain the responsibility begins to wain. And for me, it definitely has. I bought the house when my kids were still young and we needed stability and consistency. But now they’re grown and gone.
I know I could hold on a lot longer and force myself to take care of what needs to be taken care of, but it would be just that, forcing. As a single woman, I haven’t opened up the door to anything beyond homeownership for almost 20 years because having a home provided a sense of security and a feeling of independence and success. But now, things are shifting and changing and my idea of what offers security is different.
If I left, I know I’d miss the hell out of this place I created. I’d miss the confidence it gave me in my ability to keep it, pay for it and take care of it all these years. I’d miss coming home and walking through the blue door, a color I chose for peace, something I always wanted in a home and finally got it here. I’d miss all the flowers and the opportunity to see the newer trees and shrubs I planted grow tall and strong. I’d miss having parties and sharing the space with other people. I’d miss my neighbors, and slow walks, morning and evening, talking about family, work and random neighborhood things. I’d miss the knowledge that I always had a place to call my own, home.
But on the other side of letting go, I know there’d be more opportunity to explore and learn and grow. I’d be gaining time, money and freedom from worry all of which could fuel a new life adventure.
My kids would tell you that I’ve always been on the fence about this house, about staying or going. A lot of that was just fear about being capable of meeting the demands and responsibility it required. But I accomplished all of that, faced my fears, stayed, made it work. I know very well what I’m up against and I’m not afraid to stay. I know I can do it if I have to.
Now I’m more worried about what might not happen if I stay. The experiences I’ll be held back from, the things I won’t do because I’m tied down to this beautiful home.
Maybe my kids are right. Perhaps the decision has already been made. Maybe I always knew it wasn’t forever, that something more powerful could and would take me away. Maybe the level of responsibility was always over my head; I was just really good at the doggie paddle. I did it for the three of them and the woman I was at the time. And now, I don’t have to anymore. There are no kids who need a safe and steady roof over their heads; they have their own.
So now it just comes down to what do I need?
Maybe this “year to decide” isn’t really about making the decision as it is about getting used to it and letting go slowly and deliberately, enjoying the final summer here, the garden, the screened porch where I fall asleep at night to the sounds of cicadas and the wind rustling through the trees. Waking to a pair of wrens conversing over housekeeping. Maybe I just need a full year to let go and to immerse myself in the potential and possibility of other options.
It’s hard to say because from where I sit, here on the fence, I can take all the time I need, or so it seems.