I adore this Patrick Watson song The Great Escape. It’s sad and sweet all at the same time.
Last night we sold our home of 5 years. It was our dream home for many reasons.
Our ‘20 year house’. We poured our love into it. Mended it with as many efforts as we could. Sacrificed vacations for it at the drop of a hat. I practically earned an engineering degree researching updates and investment work on the house.
Mid summer the air conditioner broke down in the midst of a crazy hot one in Toronto.
We had just booked flights to Miami and for a real week vacation by a real ocean with a real beach. Shockingly, we went anyways. It was nasty to suffer the heat when we got back.
I think that vacation was tipping point to making our escape from being under the thumb of one expensive house after another. Four house purchases and sales. Each time a move up he society ladder.
Laying on the beach watching our girls frolic, something came undone. And it could not be done up again. It was the realization that lifestyle is a choice.
We came home and purchased and installed a new A/C unit. Still the escape hatch kept opening to owning less house and more life.
I no longer felt joy as we continued to obsessively make plans for house.. I normally was excited to keep ahead of the next home maintenance thing.
Suddenly it felt like buying a new dress for a date when your gut is telling you to break up.
Breaking up with your neighbourhood is hard to do. We all have met some heart-squeezing friends.
As I stood in the school line-up the first day of school though, I just felt out of place and sad.
We had been flirting with moving to the west Annex in Toronto. It’s a fairly gentrified but urban pocket. We had been cheating on our neighbourhood with it for a long time.
Every weekend we were taking off first thing Saturday morning returning only to sleep.
Out of nowhere a house that needs more mending than ever, found us.
Despite all the scary things it may have hiding underneath it, the energy in that house made us buy it after seeing it for just a few moments.
The fall market to sell a home is a tricky thing. It could be lovely and leafy and colourful. Or leaf-rotting can begin. We decided to make a super-human effort to finish up our last projects for this home to get it to market while the weather was lovely.
It would be a quick job for regular people but with my crazed standards for how things are done, it was hard physically and mentally.
We had to hurry because my dad was in Italy for only a few more weeks. It would have killed him to watch us sell the house we happily offered our retirement funds to every year for upgrades. My mom joined him in Italy and he found out we had bought. He called me 8 times trying to talk me into staying.
A huge leap of faith, 14 hour days of tidying up and mending and tiling and karma took care of the rest. We showed the house to 150 people. Crazy with open houses and constant showings. The girls were starting to feel homeless. “Please can we go home NOW mommy?”
Polishing the taps. Picking up every crumb. Every piece of clothing laundered and put away. I wanted to make everything perfect so a nice family would see this home had the right energy for them.
We had some really unpleasant people come through and several were serious about the house. I was grinding my teeth when they presented their offers.
I now understand who gets your home matters when you put your soul into a house.
So while we are ‘status downsizing’ homes and it is sad to leave our schoolyard friend big and small, I hope we friends we have made are real and will last.
Getting ready for taking offers today, I did a first nations smudging ceremony. My mother-in-law bought the items for me. I needed to cleanse the house of the bad energy some people brought in here. The sage burning smelled like pot but the sweet grass afterward smelled less illegal. It allowed good energy in. I could feel it.
Here’s to a new adventure of simpler living, bigger life. I wish the new family living here many years of joy together.