Carrie wrote an article about our move a few weeks ago. I wanted to write something then as well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to accept the move until we had finally closed on the sale our our house. I guess I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. But we closed on the sale this week, so it’s time to say goodbye.
When we moved to Stillmeadow Drive, it was with the intention that we would spend the rest of our working careers and possibly our retirement living in this home. We loved the feeling of the house, the wooded lot, the beautiful sunsets, and it really was convenient to work. But the house really was too big for just the two of us and it came with a mortgage. I’ve written before about our plan to aggressively pay the house off to get to the point of living in a mortgage free home. We figured we could pay off the house in less than 5 years, make some improvements, and cruise until we were ready to retire. At that point we would either decide that we continue to stay in Nashville or we would move east, towards the North Carolina mountains, with an eye towards Asheville.
The Best Laid Plans…
The first two years that we lived there it was really great. We enjoyed having the extra space and being being able to entertain a large crowd. I loved working in the yard, chilling in the front yard in the evenings with a glass of wine, or napping on the deck. Carrie’s commute dropped to about an 8 minute drive. My job moved back downtown shortly after we moved, but it was against traffic. It was 12 miles, but it took me about 20 minutes, door to door. Not bad.
But the last two years have been a bit challenging. We discovered that Carrie had cancer. And then the house started needing more investment than we were comfortable with. The population of Nashville has been exploding and Carrie’s commute now routinely takes 30 minutes and mine went to 40, if I’m lucky. Things just started to become….hard.
I think as human beings that we can sometimes get caught up in our surroundings. We put our careers on cruise control, pursuing the next advancement or achievement. Buying the house because society tells us that we should. Getting a new car because we “need” it to haul the kids or our stuff around. Meanwhile we spend more time sitting in traffic or cleaning the house or doing a job that you are no longer driven to do.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing and loving people. People who have supported me throughout my career and encouraged me to pursue activities outside of work that I have been drawn to. I have been fortunate to have a fantastic home in a great part of town. I have been fortunate to have a reliable car to get me between these great places. And I have been fortunate to have had a loving wife that puts up with me whenever I want to question and change everything. But the fact is, from the outside I have the perfect life, but I haven’t always loved it.
I think life, if we let it, has a way to remind us of what is important. To tap us on the shoulder and say “hey, you know that thing you want to do? you know, the one you plan to do 20 years from now? the one that you have been dreaming of doing for 20 years past? yeah, maybe you shouldn’t wait.” That’s how I view the events of the last few years. And I’m grateful for the wakeup call.
I think most people have something they desire to do. Something that in day dreams they see themselves doing. And I think most of the time it isn’t even something that extravagant or inaccessible. But for some reason we ignore it; putting it off until the day we think we are suppose to pursue it. And I think most people dream of the things they are doing, not of the things that they have.
Stillmeadow is a beautiful house and I’m glad we got to live there. For me it has two faces, one of professional growth and the other of personal pain. When I look back on this time and I say good bye to this house, I am sad, but mostly I am happy. Because this house is not my home. My home is my dreams, my desires to pursue interesting things and to have the freedom to do so. My home is my love for my wife and my friends and family that contribute to my life. I’m not saying goodbye to my home, I’m taking it with me.