A House Can Break Your Heart - Be Careful What You Wish For
A House To Call Home
I can remember the first time I saw that house. I was 29 years old, it was 1995 and I had just moved away from the town I was born and raised in..... I peeked through the windows....it was new construction so it was empty.
Often times I would drive over to this house (with my then 9 month old son), from our little apartment that my husband's company had put us up in and just walk around it....always peeking in the windows.....staring in at the big sunny kitchen. Dreaming of how happy I would be, how wonderful my life would be if we lived in THAT house.
Well....just a short time later....with help from my parents, money from both my husband's and my 401Ks and some money we'd tucked away - we bought it. And it was everything I thought it would be. It was 1800 sqaure feet of wonderful.
I'd never lived in a new house.....so that was fabulous in itself! And once we finished the basement.....7 years after moving in - we had 2400 square feet and another bathroom!
We lived in that house for 10 years. At that point.....in 2005 - we (really, I) decided to put it on the market. I had heard all these stories about people making a bundle off their houses in our area.....so I thought.....lets just try it. I put a big ole high price on it. A ridiculous price, really. Guess what? It sold in 12 days. A solid contract.
The minute I signed the offer, I was ......feeling.....not quite right. Like....maybe I shouldn't do this. Plus....we had nowhere to go. I mean....we were going to make this awesome profit....but where are we even going to move to? Hadn't really been looking at anything.
I kept thinking.....hoping....the contract would fall through and go away. But it didn't. The folks that wanted to buy it - LOVED it - and they were from California ( we live in NC) - so they thought the price was CHEAP?!
My realtor....who really, in hindsight....didn't care where my family and I ended up - showed me one house. ONE. It was brand new.....gorgeous....big yard, lovely hardwood floors, plenty of space. More space than we'd ever need. The neighborhood seemed nice as well. A bit more upscale than my old neighborhood.....but I loved my OLD neighborhood ( I didn't NEED upscale or desire it!) - and my old neighbors had become like family to me.
But I was lost. I was truly dog paddling my way through this whole situation. Dog paddling with a broken heart....but I kept telling myself...."Oh Kelly...this new house is bigger, nicer...."
So I just said...."OK". OK. That "ok" still echoes inside me. What was I thinking?
I looked at one house and said....."OK". Like I was picking out toilet paper.....or something?? At 39, with two kids.....two cats, a dog and my husband....we moved into this new deluxe home. It should have been wonderful. It should BE wonderful. I finally had a real home office to work on my beloved blog. No more working in a cold basement. But to this day.....over three years after the fact, I miss my old house. I miss it a lot. I miss the location....the neighbors and of course....the house itself and all the memories that it holds inside it's walls. And you know what... I never "really" needed a home office - I can work on my blog on my laptop anywhere. I didn't need a "special" space. Just another "thing" I felt I needed to prove I was what? Successful, worthy?
As soon as we were out from the threat of capital gains taxes....we tried to sell the one we're in. This wonderful NEW, BIG house! We wanted desperately to get back closer to town like we were before. But the housing market was collapsing in July of 2007. It was only the beginning too.... Recently....November 1, 2008 - we gave up on selling the home that was supposed to so fabulous for us. So fancy. Bigger.....swankier.....
The housing market, the economy....it's just not in our favor right now. I always think of the saying....'Be careful what you wish for....because you just might get it." I got it. The house that is. I wish I'd "got" the lesson of wishing long before though.
We've (I've) come to terms with living here another two years (or longer). And yes....I'm not boo-hooing because I have a beautiful home and the money to pay the mortgage. I understand (especially since I have a real estate license) - that many people are HAVING to sell homes they love, or even forced to walk away from them. There is no doubt in my mind that my family and I are blessed to have a home.
My point is....that life teaches you many, many lessons. At 42, I finally get it....the grass isn't always greener.
My mind still wanders off now and then to the hallways, and rooms of my old home. I can see every nook and cranny as if I were there. It's ingrained in me. Part of my soul. I've made peace with my newer home too. I no longer "blame" it for my unhappiness. I've actually started to wallpaper and paint and decorate more. I was so hell bent on getting out of it.....but in these times of serious economic hardship that we're seeing - I'm feeling that this house has become my refuge - a quiet, patient fortress waiting in the wings for when I would finally call it "home".
It feels like home more and more every day. I just needed to open myself up again after closing down with guilt over selling the old house.
I sit here in my sweet little office tonight.....typing this hub. I have a beautiful view out my office windows of the porch Christmas lights, the horse pasture across the valley and even a little snow falling. I am at peace - I have let go - it's good to look forward. But what a long journey.
I actually mourned my old house. I believe that with all my heart. It was truly a huge "part" of my life. A life I had made away from all my family, my hometown, my friends, a radio career.
It was the glue for me. And I was silly to sell it. Silly to think MORE was more 'soul satisfying'.
There are lessons to be learned with all decisions that we make. Of course, we all know that. What you think you want.....or how you think it will make you feel or how you think it will change your life - is a product sometimes of our own self worth. Maybe I thought a new, big house would make me "happy" or better? At that point in my life - I KNOW I did. I thought material "stuff" was the goal. I don't think I would have learned otherwise without the heartache I had to feel. That loss. And without a "quick" fix - I am "stuck" with my decision. I am forced to make my lemonade.
So I am grateful. For the lesson. The lesson that material things....are just things. That having the big house and fancy car don't MAKE you happy. It doesn't make you cooler, hipper, better.
It took me until I was 42 to FULLY understand this. But I am so happy I did. It teaches me that something valuable can come out of great loss - and that's a lesson worth learning, even the hard way.