Monday, June 25, 2018

Why We Will Probably Never Settle Down

So while I don't often post here anymore (because Instagram, honestly), this one is too long for IG.

When the husband made the decision to leave his former company (for ethical reasons) and landed another job outside of Chicago (which was easy-- but the options were tricky because they all had their own appeals), we were elated. All of my close friends know just how damaging that place feels for me. For us.

For those who are stumbling upon this or who may be starting their own grief journey and somehow found your way here... we spent about 7 years in Chicago, living and loving life until our firstborn unexpectedly died of stillbirth just as he was making his way into the world. The whole town, greater Chicago area, state, region... feels like a dark black cloud of heartache and heartbreak. We were only there 9 months before he died. We endured another 6 years after. And I know you can't just run away-- move away--  from your pain, but in some ways, that did heal us a bit.

Whenever I meet someone and I'm asked about where I am really from, I always explain the whole story about moving around and kind of liking the transient lifestyle. I'm from Los Angeles, but the world is vast and we genuinely enjoy the adventure.

I suppose we're true millennials (albeit, old) because we have this sense of contentment with wherever we land our feet. We aren't strapped to our things. In fact, I just cleared out 4 more bags of junk this weekend. I'd clear more, but my kids start to get defensive and confused about my actions. When we moved from Chicago, we went from almost 3,700 square feet to about 1,800 square feet. It all fit. We pared down. We donated and sold nearly half of our belongings. There's so much irony there because while we were living our perfect dream of a large home and awaiting the birth of our first child, we were FILLING spaces after moving from our small duplex apartment in Redondo Beach, CA that we lived in as newlyweds.

And there we were with all    /    the     /     space.

The space was so large that it was suffocating after Andrew died. I wanted it all to disappear. The weekly house projects were neverending. It almost felt like a punishment. We know it's ordinary to have house projects, but we hated them. We saw them as a liability. At times, they were helpful to distract, but those almost seemed to scar us as well. We're the perfectionist types and like things done well. It was impossible. We were never measuring up.

When we sold that house and moved into a rental, it was a renewal we didn't realize would be so powerful. Much of that was because we were physically leaving behind the physical space where we grieved so deeply, but also because we released ourselves from ownership and being owned by a home and space. We were free. In Reno, we LOVED our rental because it was quaint, new(ish) and we didn't have to repair anything. In Arizona, we're renting again, loving the luxury of a gardener and pool maintenance person. We, again, feel stress-free about living here. It's odd living in a rental with the means to buy a house in our neighborhood just fine (and no intention to ever do so), but that's only because of the judgments we have developed as a society. We had all of the "American dream" until we didn't. It turns out the American dream wasn't really for us, especially if that dream means owning the same home and being strapped down to a geographical location for too long. Plus, it's not financially responsible to buy and sell houses often. It's just not a good investment for the most part.

My co-worker just took a job in Northern California. We hadn't even lived here a year when he announced his move, but I'll admit, I felt a tinge of jealousy for the adventure that awaits him. I don't even want to live in Sacramento! We're content now, but we just love the adventure of change.

Our date nights always involve our dreaming of the future and where we'll explore next. We predict one more move in our future before our kids are out into the open world of college and beyond. After, we plan to live the condo life in a high rise in a cool mountain town somewhere. It's such a foreign concept, we understand, but it's working wonders for our mental health. Adventures are fresh. New. Happy.

Sign me up for that, please.