So I sold my house and I’m filled with ambivalence about it. My sentiments vacillate between a sense of relief over having made the decision to move and a gnawing feeling of regret over it.
After all, Angela and I built that house, we bought the lot and met with the builder and then contracted to have our dream home become a reality. We were simultaneously excited and nervous at the prospect of being homeowners and responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. Committing ourselves to a 25-year indenture to the bank was pretty scary as well.
But, somehow, we managed to get it all done and began the process of transforming the house into a home; a place where you always feel safe and secure, and where the howling winds outside are always kept at bay. We were really taken with the notion of being home owners and we reasoned that everything we did to improve our home was a gift we were bestowing on ourselves.
For Angela and me, our home became a reflection of our life together; a manifestation of our dedication and commitment to our family. After all, this is the place where we would celebrate the most important events of our lives together.
The house grew over time so that we could all have our happy space, and we really did come to love it. It was not just pride of
ownership, it was more the sense that our lives were more fulfilling in our home.
We did so many things there with friends and family. We hosted countless holiday meals and we established our own traditions, with Christmas Eve as the highlight.
So many wonderful memories swell up in my mind; too many to count, but all of them filled with happiness and the joy that comes from shared family experiences. Every room seems to resonate with some recollection of a family conversation or a humorous story.
Then again, there were anxious nights with feverish kids, and the slow process of Angela’s illness sapping her strength and vitality. But she always enjoyed sitting on the sunny porch or reading a book in the den.
Why then would I even think about changing all of this? Why would I want to leave it all behind? The fact is that life happened and made the decision for me. Life made changes that altered my happy state. When your life changes and nothing is the same, you realize, over time, that there is no point to trying to preserve that which is no longer there.
My resentment has evolved into a sense of gratitude for all that we had as a family, for all the things we shared and even now still remember fondly.
So moving to another place doesn’t erase anything that I have stored in my memory trove. It doesn’t make my life any less fulfilling. It doesn’t make my family any less precious, it just changes the venue.
I like to think that we will have opportunities to create some new family experiences that will brighten our lives in the years to come. Yes, I expect that some of those new memories might be in another place, such as Needham or DC, but they will be happy times nonetheless.
My new home has space for guests and a table large enough for a holiday gathering. It’s up to me to bring people to that table and to offer my family the hospitality that has always been the hallmark of our home. The place you call home is only part of the story, the love and happiness that you share is really the most important thing after all.