I drive by slowly, taking it all in. Not much has changed in the last year, looks are the same as ever, only now with a new man. We spent 11 years together, improved ourselves together, had many memories, and then it was over. We moved on to new environs, with mixed emotions and the new things would never be the same as the old.
I’m talking about our old house. This post will read like the lyrics of that BareNakedLadies song “Old Apartment“. We took it from wreck that was formerly owned by a drug dealer, with holes in the wall, a basement without access from the main floor and dark blue wall-to-wall carpeting that sucked the life from the fantastic natural lighting to a nice home with new stairs, a finished basement, bamboo floors, updated kitchen and many amenities. We lived there as a newly married couple with two crazy dogs, then with one baby, then two. I started my fitness journey there, going from couch potato to Ironman, leaving right from my house for many hours of bike rides and runs, often with Holly. Often pushing a jogging stroller. I could walk across the street to swim in the lake, or launch our canoe for a paddle around the swampy part looking for turtles.
Holly and I spent hours with friends in our house and in our rustic yard. Playing badminton at gatherings we hosted, enjoying a glass of wine on the porch, playing guitar at our fire pit in the summer, watching the fox and deer and turkeys in the backyard. Like us, it wasn’t perfect. It had its imperfections that we knew about, but like a well warn pair of shoes, it fit us perfectly for a time in our lives. But that time passed and the negatives started to outweigh the positives. The lack of children in the neighborhood when the kids needed a little more of that. The distance from everything; from school, from work, from the city became more of a burden despite the tranquility of the lake environment. The asshole next door neighbor who complained about our leaves in his yard or bitched about any number of things. The overall lack of neighbors that fit with our social type. The break-ins and redneck aspects of the neighborhood. We had to move on.
The distance we moved wasn’t great; less than 18 miles away. But it changed everything. We found ourselves in an actual neighborhood with abundant kids for Loudboy and Birdsnest to play with; a pool in the summer; a great school system and neighbors that we actually liked. We both cut our commute in half and found ourselves with a routine that worked out much better for us. The house itself was laid out much more to our liking and gave us a little more room to spread out and grow into over the years. And it had a little garden, a small community garden if you will; an intersection of three properties and shared by us and our adjacent neighbors.
But the memories of what we had at our old house still pass in my mind like a fall breeze. I miss tremendously our two dogs that lived with us there that we had to put to sleep (both of them, within a week of each other) shortly after we moved. I miss sitting on the front deck watching the lake. I find it hard to think about the new man who moved into our house, even though it was what we wanted.
This sense of gain and loss and mixed emotions is very similar to that of being in a relationship that has moved on as well. We’ve all had them and to varying degrees it’s always hard to put the past to bed and turn that page. The memories tend to fade, and the thoughts of good times and bad just become another layer that gets covered with the tapestry of our growing lives. If we’re lucky, through the process of gain and then loss, we grow as people. We learn more about ourselves. We take something away from the past so that we may be improved in the future. We don’t end up broken in some way that prevents us from being someone else’s home, for life.
I’ve found my life partner, and believe we’ve found our life home as well. And I know dog Dum-Dum will grow in my heart like our old dogs did. I’m just feeling a little nostalgic today and miss my buddies and miss the rustic, quiet feel of our old home.