Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Home is Where Your Story Begins


My house went on the market a few days ago.
Not surprisingly, after I posted the picture of my For Sale sign, I received a lot of messages. And questions.
"What? Why are you selling your house?"
The answer is actually pretty simple.
And no, it's not because I enjoy moving that much. Moving is a colossal pain in the ass. And house selling and buying is never not stressful, even when it's your own choice.
In fact, I would argue it's in many ways more stressful (and expensive) when you choose to move instead of having the army tell you where and when to move.
Because this time it's entirely my decision, I have no one to blame but myself if it doesn't work out (but it will).
It's all on my shoulders.
Fortunately, I've built a lot of upper body strength in the last few years.
I decided to move for a very simple reason: I'm not actually where I want to be.
I live in a beautiful house, on a beautiful street in a beautiful neighbourhood in a beautiful town.
It's just not the right town.
It's also a retirement/university town. Half of the population is under the age of twenty-two, the other half over the age of seventy-two. And then there's me, the monkey in the middle.
When Dan died, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to be. I just knew I couldn't stay in Petawawa.
Before he deployed to Afghanistan, we decided if anything happened to him, the kids and I would move home. So that's what we did.
But you can never really go home. Because home is not the same, and neither are you.
When I left Nova Scotia, I was a twenty-two-year-old bride embarking on my life's adventure with my new husband. I was so young back then, and so naive.
I had absolutely no idea what life had in store for me, good or bad.
I came back home, alone as a forty-three-year-old widow. I was not so young. And I was definitely not naive.
I still have absolutely no idea what life has in store for me. But I do know that whatever it is, I'm strong enough to make it through it.
I've always wanted a barn red house in Nova Scotia, it was my maybe sometime-years-down the road daydream.
I had no idea that I would actually get that house or that it would come at such a steep price.
Perhaps what they say is true.
Be careful what you wish for.
I will never regret the decision to move home. I think in many ways I needed to be here to know this was not where I wanted to be.
It was a good place for my girls to finish high school.
I was here when my Mom and Dad needed me the most. I was here when my Dad died.
And it was the right place for me to figure out just who I am. And where I want to be.
Deciding to move is not a decision I took lightly or made quickly. It was one that was gradually made with much introspection over many walks over many months.
I am not unhappy in Nova Scotia, but I will be if I stay here alone after Katherine leaves for university.
The reality is my children will never live in Nova Scotia. And neither will my closest friends.
Ottawa offers me the opportunity to be nearer to both.
And it is the geographically perfect place for me to grow professionally.
The Annapolis Valley is beautiful, it will always be one of my homes.
But there is so much more life waiting to be lived, a new story waiting to be written on the other side of these hills.
It's time for me to start writing the next part of my story.
My life is my story. And I intend to write it well.
In a lovely office in a beautiful house on a beautiful street in a beautiful neighbourhood in Ottawa.
But not a barn red house, I've been there done that.
I'm thinking dark blue this time.
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