Stay or Go?

Squeaky Doors and a Good Night’s Sleep

We lived with squeaky doors for more years than I care to admit. The sound of the doors opening and closing became part of the background noise of our lives. It wasn’t romantic or nostalgic; it was practical and familiar. Practical and familiar pretty much sum up our way of living.

Having children, teens then adult children living with us, the squeaky doors let us know someone was coming or going. The creaking not only allowed me to sleep soundly late at night knowing everyone was home and safely tucked into bed, but it was a constant reminder of the rhythm of our lives. It was just one of those things I accepted and in which I found rest and reassurance.

A few months ago I decided the time had come to live dangerously free. I retrieved the can of WD-40 from the garage and proceeded to lubricate all three squeaky doors. Why the change? I am not sure, but in hindsight I think it was the beginning of a radical shift in our life’s purpose.

The Complacency Quotient

We have spent our entire thirty five years together living our life based on the needs – real and imagined – of others. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know how to behave as a couple any other way. The anxiety of the unknown has us somewhat paralyzed.

We are comfortable. We know where we like to eat, shop, and the tricks to avoid Houston traffic. We have friends here and a pattern of life that is familiar. But, there is something missing. I have longed to move for at least thirty of our thirty five years together. It is my answer to the mundane. The problem is, I afraid of making a mistake and regretting leaving behind what it took so long to build. Will I ever have friends again? Do I want to go to that effort? Will we get tired of staring at each other because there is no one else to talk to? These nagging fears keep our feet firmly planted in neutral.

Destination Unknown

In reality we are almost free to go where we want, live how we want to live and enjoy one another. Where do we go? What do we do? Country or city? Single family home or town home? My very wise friend told me, “Just go. Don’t worry about making a mistake. Pick a place and go.”

Whoa there cowboy! You mean the close your eyes and point to a place on the map and just go there? Nope. Not us. We are not those people. Or are we? Am I? We love to watch House Hunter’s International. It is always fascinating to me that some retired, or remote working, couples just pick up and move thousands of miles from family and friends to begin new lives. Those couples all expect family members will want to come visit. My expectation is that no one will come visit and if we are to ever see our family it is because we go to them. That might sound pessimistic, but I choose realistic. After all we won’t be moving somewhere exotic and fun. Just a livable city somewhere in Texas.

Part of our dilemma is that my other half is still working and enjoys what he does. He doesn’t have to live in a specific city but we do need to remain in the state of Texas. Financial restraints have eliminated much of the state and, with a few exceptions, what we can afford is mostly undesirable to us. We do have some options and settled on a region of Texas for our new adventure.

We’ve Got Junk

Then there is the subject of the work required to downsize and prepare the house for the public. I become overwhelmed and what happens next? You guessed it, inertia. The old feet stuck in mud scenario rears its ugly head once again. Not only do we have junk we have years of deferred maintenance on the house that needs to be done. Small stuff – weather stripping, woodwork, cabinet repair – that we have just learned to live with but which must be taken care of prior to selling this house.

I look at the mountain of work to be done and think, “Maybe it isn’t so bad here.” In fact it isn’t bad here. It is just that this house in this location has served its purpose and it is time for a new adventure.

List Making & Goal Setting

My goal for today is to make lists, one for me, one for him and one with overall things to be done by either of us. I will be making daily runs to the charity gift shop to donate items. He will be required to sort through years of work stuff he has kept for no good reason at all other than “I might need it one day.” There will be updates and tips in future posts based on what I discover as we begin this journey. It is going to be tough but necessary and freeing.

Why go to all this work? To build a life – for as long as we have – that is designed just for us. A life where we can go and do what makes us happy even if happiness comes from staying home watching British television and fantasizing about life in the UK. We are simple people in search of a simple life together. Now I just have to motivate myself to get the work done that needs doing. Come back next week and I’ll let you know if I made progress.

My advice for the week, live…don’t just exist and cherish every moment God gives to you.





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