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Life Transitions: Finding The Way

It has been a 2 year dry spell for me. I lost my muse, and everything I started writing about seemed unimportant as I wafted around in cyber limbo. After having gone through one of the most important, stressful events in my life – a move out of my home of 21 years, the wells have sprung. I now know why I lost my desire to write anything substantial all this time. I needed a change, a shake-up, a forward motion. And so it happened.

Life Transitions- Finding The WayAs I write this, the yoke of home ownership lifted, after selling my house of hopes and dreams, the house that I moved into, 9 months pregnant with my last child. My hopes for an almost perfect life loomed large. I was prepared to raise my 2 boys, ages 5 and 3 and my baby daughter in that spacious colonial with the big backyard and build a comfortable, nurturing life for myself and husband.

My expectations of being a Mom and taking care of a house were not realistic and I discovered a lot about myself. Like being a stay at home Mom and raising kids and attempting to keep up with housework or decorate lost its charm very quickly. I had given up my dream job, working as a public relations copywriter at an ad agency in L.I. to have children. I was even asked to continue on a part time basis, but Motherhood grabbed me by the arm and decided to overwhelm me with nursing, no sleep and soothing a crying baby. I was not prepared, never took a class, and apparently didn’t read the manual.

13 years later, a swing set, gazebo, 2 dogs and lots of custom furniture, I was going through a divorce. My kids were young and suffered the brunt of the cruelty and life changing events of my husband’s and my unraveling relationship. I held on to that house, because it was comfortable, routine and I didn’t have a lot of options at that time. But then, I continued to hold on to that house through the kids’ high school and college years when they had lives of their own and needed their rooms less and less, and certainly didn’t need their swing set in the yard anymore. Why? I’m really not sure. Maybe because it was easier to continue to do the same thing instead of make a great, frightening change. What is it that’s said about insanity? Doing the same thing day after day and getting the same results? Definition: insanity.

I became a personal trainer and continued to freelance write, as the years rolled on, seemingly at an accelerated pace. Until, I’d had enough, with home ownership and leaks, and boiler repair and everything that goes eventually wrong in a home. The only thing that gave me comfort was when the kids came home to visit and I could revert to being Mommy, cooking, complaining and beaming at them. Or when I went outside to my lovely yard, planted and watered my flowers and vegetable garden and swung in the gazebo.

Then there was the memory of standing outside my heatless house in my yard on that frigid, but sunny day, after Hurricane Sandy trounced through my yard, felling trees, and raised my arms, outstretched to the sun and thanked God for this moment of warmth.

Selling, throwing out and donating 21 years of my life, 3 stories, shed and garage full of stuff was daunting, liberating, but also depressing. I threw out the kids’ old toys, ex-husband’s Valentine’s Day cards and whatever else I could bear to part with. My kids accused me of being a hoarder and over sentimental. But when I saw those adorable projects the kids made, I’d cave and set them aside in a small plastic bin.

With the intensity of a project manager on deadline, I had about 7 weeks to get rid of most of my house stuff, book the moving truck and close on the house 2 days before Thanksgiving. Some type of lunatic power possessed me after the moving truck moved all the big furniture. I really only took my dining room set and piano, books, CD’s and records. All of my other personal items I ended up carting and boxing up and moving myself. Going up and down 3 flights of stairs in my home and then 2 flights of stairs in my new apt., not eating, combined with sheer exhaustion for those last 3 weeks resulted in an unprecedented weight loss of 8 lbs! Aha, so that’s how it’s done – 8 hours of movement daily, spare eating, exhaustion and voila, pounds came off without even a thought – what a miraculous feat!

I’m now settling in to apartment living and some of the 8 lbs and sense of calm have returned. The loss of my yard and letting my dogs run free is one thing I’ll miss. Not much of a cold and rainy day walk kind of a person, but the noose around my neck of solo home ownership is gone. I will also miss my garden and flower plantings, which I can only limitedly do on my terrace. Yes, this is a new chapter, beginning, plot line, one of calm and peace, less worry, but not boredom, sorely needed.

Lily Zajc

Writer, personal fitness trainer, amateur musician, Mom to adult children and 2 poodles. Forever in search for the perfect slice of pizza, sushi, song, and sunset.

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Paula Kiger

Thursday 21st of January 2016

Oh my goodness Lily - congrats on your muse returning! I am oh so ready to kiss the yoke of home ownership goodbye! SO READY. :-)

lily zajc

Thursday 21st of January 2016

Paula, it was an unburdening for sure! .I feel freer, especially when I see folks doing repairs on their house or getting the snowblowers ready!

Stella Chiu

Thursday 21st of January 2016

Hi, Lily

I had gone through what you went through. To manage one big house was not easy for me either.. There were so many maintaining jobs that drove me crazy.

I agree with you, living in an apartment is easier except there is no backyard to do the gardening. May be it is only a small price to pay.

Like your article.

- Stella Chiu

lily zajc

Thursday 21st of January 2016

Stella, it did take getting used to, but I had to weigh the pros and cons of apt living vs. home ownership. I have started container gardening in the warmer months.

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