Tuesday, July 21, 2009

home bittersweet home

come on in

Having 13 different addresses in 13 years has blurred my concept of Home. I am more attached to things than place. I am always one foot out the door. I am tired of starting over (with people, routines, what's familiar). I am envious of those who can Stay.

Almost every time I listen to a To The Best Of Our Knowledge podcast, I hear some little piece (or sometimes, the whole thing) that I want to talk, to someone, about. A friend of mine said it's a little too "baby boomer"-ish and, well, it's true. The intended audience might be a few decades ahead of me. But when I was in the 5th grade, I honestly wrote, for an autobiographic school report, that my favorite television show was 20/20. Which is to say: I've always been a little old for my years (what's quirky at ten is maybe less so come thirtysomething).

The other night I listened, riveted, to an episode about Home. The segments were not so compelling, but the subject is just so confounding to me.

Confession: I always feel like an interloper.

The last 13 years of my life have provided very little continuity, the setting keeps changing and the supporting cast revolves and I stand on the periphery, out of place. I don't know what it's like to be an integral part of anything beyond my own little family of four.

I was so attached to the place I grew up, I bolted at first chance. This is not uncommon (but neither is a grown-up desire to move back, which I don't have and would not consider). My story is not unique. We've changed homes a lot. So what?

So I'm done. I don't want to pack up and move again. I don't want to cram my stuff into the back of a U-Haul one more time. I don't want my furniture to get more bangs and scrapes from smashing through doorways, up staircases.

But I don't know if I can call this place Home. We just ended up here. I said I wouldn't move to this town and then, so quickly, here we were. Here I am.

Who knows how much longer we can keep the bank happy. As it turns out, joblessness is not so compatible with paying one's bills. Which means the shuffle shimmy balancing act will topple one of these days and our house will be on the chopping block. And we'll be. . . ?

Home is rest. Of not thinking about where you might be living down the road, of the question not even entering the equation. Because it's always in the back of my mind. I'm always wondering, anticipating the shift in the wind that will cause circumstances to change and have us scrambling for a new place. My how we've scrambled.

So it might happen that I'm not done. That there's more moving in store for us. It's a worry. And not such a great lurking shadow to have around if becoming more invested in this place is the goal (is it?).

Yeah, I don't know.


Jocelyn said...

I've been in your position--the exact same one. Husband is the only one who works. He lost his job. We were in deep trouble.

Sell your house. I KNOW you don't want to. I didn't want to either. We move too much too. But do it to protect your future. You get escorted out that door someday by someone from your bank, you can count on not owning another home for years. Don't do that to yourself. Don't do that to your kids. Recognize your limitations, stand up and take a stand. Don't let this ruin your life.

Really, I was in the exact same situation. There was no other choice. I liked the house and moreso was just desperate to be settled somewhere. We sold anyway. We walked away. Someday, when we've caught our breath, we'll settle again. Maybe this time for good. I hope so. I will hope the same for you too. In the meantime, try to put your emotions aside and deal with the facts of the matter. If you can't afford to stay without foreclosure looming, you can't afford to stay. End of story. Move on to fight another day.

april. said...

we're still plodding ahead. what else can you do? but selling a home requires a buyer. and have you seen the housing market these days? we can't afford to sell it for less than we bought it for. and i can't imagine that anyone would voluntarily buy it for more.

Jocelyn said...

Yes, I know about the housing market these days. I just sold my house in the midst of it. Literally. We just closed the end of last month.

Please understand that though it is bad, not everyone's situation is the same. You are not doomed to not find a buyer. While many houses in my area are sitting for months and months, my house still sold in three weeks. We got the right buyer. It's still possible to do.

Please don't give into thinking that you "can't". You may very well still be able to. No, you won't make any money on the deal, but you may just break even. And that's got to be better than the alternative.

I wish you luck, absolutely. My thoughts are with you.