I have vague memories of when I was eight years old, moving from my birth home in (then-) rural Virginia to the bustle and civilization of Northern Virginia. One of the things that stuck with me was that when my family pulled away from the house for the last time in our old Toyota Celica, was seeing a neighborhood girl that was my age standing in her front yard, and she waved at us. I remember her name was Evan. I remember being at an age where moving wasn’t that big of a deal, although my sister was pretty miffed at moving from an area where elementary school was K-5 to a place that was K-6, meaning she had to put up with one more year of elementary school and sharing the bus with a little brother.
When my family moved again when I was in the fifth grade, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal then either. Sure, it kind of stunk knowing I’d have to start over again at another new school, but my family was doing well financially at that time, and we were moving into a huge baller home, and there was something exciting about switching schools mid-year. It also helped that my new school was slightly behind in curriculum than my former one, so I literally coasted for a while before actually getting back to learning.
It was during my sophomore year of high school that my family moved again. This one I remember being a little harder to cope with, mostly on account of the fact that I was a moody, broody 15-year old then, and the fact that the circumstances behind the move weren’t necessarily positive or free will; the restaurant business was going downhill, the family’s finances were following, and it was more like being forced to downsize and move to a smaller home, rather than it being a bright and promising change. I didn’t particularly care for moving back then, but growing up has made me understand and accept why it was necessary.
On my 21st birthday, I packed a bunch of my stuff and I moved to Georgia. Although this is what I wanted, and it was the best choice for my career, it was a particularly difficult pill to swallow, mostly because it was such a massive change in my life. New home, new job, new surroundings, it was very much starting all over again. Even though it was entirely my choice, I remember the emotional sadness I felt when I left Virginia and my family; obviously it wasn’t the last times I would see everything and everyone, but things were clearly not going to be the same again.
In November of 2004, I signed the novella of paperwork for my first house. I was 22 years old then. It wasn’t a difficult move at all for me, because I’d moved a fair number of times by this time, and I had always viewed the previous living conditions as temporary and not permanent, because why wouldn’t I want to have a place to call my own eventually? I remember it being substantially rougher on Jen, whom had been in her prior home for quite some time, and I remember feeling a similar homesickness for when I made my move down to Georgia in the first place.
It was through homeownership do I feel that I learned a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience gained, not just from dealing with shit like property taxes and homeowners associations, but, as cliché as it may sound, but life itself. I feel like owning a home really does kind of make a person grow up a little bit faster than those who don’t undertake such massive investments, because committing to property is a pretty massive commitment outright, and declaring that you want pledge years to a location, and be willing to accept all that comes with said location.
Over the last 12+ years a lot has happened. I’ve switched jobs quite a few times, but always remained somewhat in the world of graphic design. I freelanced for seven years in order to pay the bills, when the job market for designers was tumultuous, so I took the route of hired gun instead of risk getting laid off yet again for some stuffy company. And despite the fact that Jen and I never really had the intention of staying in the house for over five years, it became a necessity when we witnessed the arrival of the housing market crash, and the property values in our neighborhood, as well as the vast majority of America came tumbling down like an avalanche.
Thankfully, we were never in the boat of being people who were never capable of paying their loans in the first place, and although it wasn’t necessarily the choice we wanted to make, it was the most rational and logical choice for us to simply buckle down, continue paying the mortgage, and weather the storm. Eventually, the market will recover, or we will pay our shit down to where we might be able to get out without suffering a debilitating hit.
That time has finally come, and unfortunately it’s more the latter than the former. It only took like nearly a decade, but through tenacity, responsibility and standing pat, the mortgage is paid down, and the market has (slowly) recovered to the point where a break-even point is within grasp. And we’re reaching out to take it.
The thing is, despite the fact that this is what I want, it’s still a tremendously difficult pill to swallow. This is my house, my home. My home that I’ve lived in for the last 12+ years, I’ve already begun a slow and saddening goodbye to, and it’s been a whirlwind of a last few weeks as Jen and I have been removing our personal effects, chunks and pieces at a time. Some to storage, some to our new, separate domiciles.
It kills me just a little bit more, the emptier the house gets. Speaking echoes a little bit more, with each piece of furniture removed. The walls grow more barren with every poster or piece of artwork taken down. The outlets empty up with each electronic device unplugged and packed away.
It’s change. And I don’t often deal with change too well. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the best or not, change has always been something that I’ve had varying degrees of difficulty in dealing with. Writing a new chapter means looking back at words previously written. Moving on to a new home means an old home with its memories and experience left behind.
In spite of this emotional roller coaster, this is what I want. 100%, fully committed. I’ve been stating for years that despite the fact that I love my house, I hate its location, and want very much to be in a different, vastly more convenient location. But I will not deny for a second that this is going to be a very difficult change to cope with, as I’m very much experiencing now, as the roller coaster is continuing to whip and race through its track.
I can’t promise that this will be the last emotional word outburst I write as this goes on. Sometimes when I’m feeling mopey about bidding farewell to my house, despite the fact that it ultimately kind of an unsuccessful variant of the American Dream, my head is full of words and thoughts and more words, and I feel like the only thing I can do is purge them onto text and post them onto a brog that is still out of commission.
Perhaps by the time it’s back up, I’ll have already moved, and be in my new place. Or maybe it’s when I’m in the new place, getting the brog back up seems like a logical endeavor to strive for, to kind of metaphor starting things fresh and all over again.
Either way, while this transition is going on, I’m going to be kind of a mess here and there. But like all wounds and woes, time will heal me as well, but it’s just getting there that’s going to occasionally be trying.