Tales of a wandering lesbian

White picket fence

Last week, I sold my house. Well, I signed the acceptance papers, so I count that as selling the house.

Don't we look happy together?

Don't we look happy together?

It might not seem like much, but it’s been a long, long journey. After living there for 5 years, I let the house sit empty for almost two years, unable to tear myself away from it. Unable to even rent it. Unable to move on with my life. It took a lot of time, an energy clearing, and a major life change to get to the point where I’m finally ready to hand the house to the next owner.

When I first moved out of the house, I had a really hard time. I cried every time I went back, which made it hard to pack up, clean it out, or do any kind of maintenance on the house. It took a toll on my finances. It took a toll on my relationship. My inability to move on has kept me in a holding pattern, circling my “successes” and pondering my “failures”.

You see, I bought the house right after law school. In fact, I made an offer, sight-unseen, while I was on vacation in Hawaii, one week after taking the bar exam. I lived there the entire time I practiced law – while I worked at the Court of Appeals, while I worked as a Hearings Officer, and when I opened my own practice – in my house. I lived there when I was a political organizer, doing the work I loved.

That house was a symbol of everything in my life I had decided to be. A symbol of the success I had worked hard for. It was part of my “five-year-plan” – the smart investment I’d decided on in my college financial planning course. And, that course was part of my business major, the marketable degree I’d decided to get.

Yay me! I planned my life out at age 20! What’s crazy is that I lived my life according to that plan for the next 12 years. Wow.

Even after I moved out, it took me a couple of years – the time the house was empty – to figure that out. It was a painful two years. Even once I saw the reason I was paralyzed, I wasn’t able to change it.

It’s amazing how effectively we can fool ourselves. A three-bedroom ranch in the suburbs filled with furniture and consumer debt. That was the pre-packaged experience I chose.

I realized something today when I was talking with my boss about my decision to pick up my life and go traveling. For quite some time, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want. I’ve made myself truly miserable searching for the life I want. What do I want to be? What do I want to do? How do I want to live? That’s a hell of an overwhelming series of questions. I’ve been searching for the entire life plan/path/experience that I want, instead of just doing what I want to do today, in this moment. I was so absorbed in the giant task of figuring out my life that I couldn’t see the little things that I wanted. For the first time in a very long time, I know what I want. I just want to go back to Italy. I know nothing after that. I have thoughts about what might happen. I have ideas about what I could do, but the only thing I know I want is to go back. Next to years of agonizing over what life I want to live, deciding to go back to Italy seems like one of the easiest things in the world.

Last week when I was at the house, I had a remarkable moment when I looked around and saw the house as someone else’s home. It’s a great house, and I loved my time in it – but it belongs to someone else now. It will always mean a great deal to me, but perhaps now I will think of it as less of a symbol of my “success” and more as one of my greatest teachers.

I just wish my teachers didn’t make me cry so much. It’s kind of how I imagine Catholic school.

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August 31, 2009   6 Comments