Resistance is Futile

by Chloe Jeffreys · 9 comments

in Women in Midlife

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu

No U TurnIt’s over. We let go of our house.

In the end, I hardly shed a tear.

I’m relieved that it’s over. So many dreams; so much money. All gone now. But I’m so busy moving on and creating our next chapter that I have little time for regrets.

The strangest thing about selling your house is the moment you hand over the keys to someone and they stand there expectantly waiting for you to leave.

Leave? My house?

You are waiting for me to leave MY house?

But it wasn’t our house anymore. Now it’s their house.

It’s weird imagining someone else cooking in my kitchen while their guests sit around chatting at the big island I designed.

Will they ever put in that skylight I’d always wanted?

It’s odd thinking about these strangers taking a bath in MY tub and stepping out onto the heated tile floor I’d insisted on installing.

Will the new owners keep up the shower glass that my husband and I religiously squeegeed after every single shower?

Will they enjoy the tasteful and soothing Benjamin Moore White Satin blue I’d agonized over for hours and hours before finally making the commitment, or will they decide it needs to be painted puce?

Who knows? Who cares? It’s not my house anymore. I wish the new owners well.

And I hope for the sake of all that is good and holy they don’t paint that gorgeous bathroom puce.

Tears in Heaven

I thought I handled the house thing pretty well, but the worst was yet to come.

The day after we handed over the keys, as we were unpacking, my little 13 year old bichon, Jean-Luc, fell seriously ill.

For all his fluff, Jean-Luc was one tough little guy. A few years back he’d survived a serious mauling. And then a couple of months ago he became very ill and we found out that not only did he have diabetes, but he had a large bladder stone that needed immediate surgery. He came through the surgery with flying colors, and seemed a lot perkier with his twice daily insulin shots.

But that night, as I cuddled him in my arms surrounded by moving boxes full of crap that won’t matter to anyone someday, he looked up at me and made it very clear that he had had enough. He spent his last night suffering in a lot pain, and at 11:15 the next morning I took him to the vet where he went quickly and peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge while lying in my arms.

Jean-Luc

I’m going to miss him so much.

Freedom. Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose?

What makes a life?

It’s not our stuff.

Going through nearly 30 years of accumulated belongings, Jeff and I faced hard decisions about what to keep and what to throw out.

As with everything else that stays or goes in our lives these days, we based our decisions on love. Over and over again we held up some beloved treasure, or accumulated detritus, and asked ourselves, “Do we love it?”

If the answer was no then into the good-bye pile it went.

Jean-Luc would not have gone into the good-bye pile, but I wasn’t given a real choice there.

Sometimes the choices were brutal. My husband let go of an old tuba he’d had for many years, and I pared down the children’s artwork even more.

The secret was to see these things not in terms of their sentimental value, but as obstacles standing between us and the life we are dreaming of. We are in full-on dream mode these days.

The only thing we know for certain is each other.

Having gone to the wall with and for one another two years ago, we’ve determined that our love for each other must be the determining factor for everything that stays or goes in our lives.

The question that must be asked and answered by both of us in the affirmative is, “Does it serve us?”

If it doesn’t serve our own personal growth and the sanctity of our marriage and our future together then into the good-bye pile it goes.

Our Lives Become the Choices We Make

Later today, I’m leaving for my next travel nurse contract. Making money is a big part of my contribution to our future together. We have big dreams that are going to cost a lot of money, and both of us need to focus on making money these days if we want to see those dreams come true.

These next 10 years will likely be my most financially productive, and I need to make the most of them. Having taken off 10 years to raise my kids, and spent another 10 working part-time, I have a lot of lost income to make up for if I’m going to avoid ending up penniless like my mother.

Our future financial security, and where and how we want to live as we get older, consume much of our thoughts and conversations today. Our years of living for our children are over. Now is the time to focus on us. What do we want? And how are we going to make it happen?

The future seems bright. But on the way to the future, it seems that there are an awful lot of painful good-byes.

Jean-Luc2

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie June 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

Oh, {{{{{{{{{{{{Chloe}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} My heart just breaks for you. I only found your blog a couple of days ago. There really is nothing quite like the totally accepting love of a dog.

He’s waiting for you patiently, and wagging a grateful tail every time he thinks of you.

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Jamie@southmainmuse April 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Resistance to change is futile. But hard especially if it’s change we don’t like. I’m trying to accept things — it is what it is. I’m getting better but not natural yet.
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D. A. Wolf April 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about Jean-Luc. These are tough, tough losses. Our beloved family mutt passed away just after my firstborn flew the nest for college, and the morning my younger son was headed off to take SATs. Not something we will forget.

And losing one’s home feels like a violation, even if you sell it if financial necessity. It is the loss not only of dreams but a cleaving of time, a breakage in history. It’s not about the stuff but rather, youth, hope, tangible symbols of those we live and experiences.

But there will be more ahead for you. And the relief must be huge.

Sending hugs.
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Jack April 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Three years ago we sold our house but not by choice. Sure it had an amazing kitchen and fantastic bathroom because we had remodeled the place and made those into our own.

It was never supposed to be our forever house but it was home and it was supposed to be ours until we decided not to keep it.

And then life got in the way, recession, lay off, medical bills and what have you.So I sold it because I couldn’t take the chance that it would be taken.

But between you and me it still feels like I lost it even though I sold it.

Anyhoo, most days I don’t think about it because life is a 100% better and the skies are blue, but I still miss my old dog because he was family.

A house is only interesting because of the family that spend time in it and after that it loses its luster, at least for me.

Anyhoo, here is a to a bright future for you. Sorry for your loss.
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Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) April 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Molly died suddenly in the summer of 2012. We sold the house we’d designed for ourselves that Fall and moved to a rental in early 2013. I’ve so been where you are….!
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Sarah April 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Chloe, this is a very timely post for me. Over the past year my life has come unstitched in every possible way and has left me numb from the “what is going to happen next” question. Everything seems out of my control, financially and otherwise and I am just trying to keep my head above water. Unfortunately I am in this alone with 2 young children as I just recently went through a divorce. I will soon be losing my beloved house, and really have no where to go but an overpriced rental. It’s been a very humbling year. But I take solace in reading what you are going through, and seeing how much hope & fortitude you have.
Thanks,
-Sarah

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Kristi R. April 20, 2014 at 9:03 pm

It is so very hard to move, even when it is by choice, when you have done so much to a house to make it *your* style.

Losing a beloved pet on top of that makes a sucky time pretty much a sinkhole of raw sewage.

I hope you do better soon!

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Suzanne April 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Sometimes one second at a time is what we can do. I’m so sorry about Jean-Luc. Just thinking about losing a puppy takes my breath away but they know when they’ve had enough and they let us know…we can’t be selfish, that’s our job what they trust us to do right. My heart hurts for you…

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Magnolia April 20, 2014 at 5:48 pm

I’m so sorry about your puppy. I get SO attached to animals. I put down our 16 year old cat 3 years ago and it took me a week to stop sobbing. We promptly replaced him with “Hunter Kitty” who I’ve come to equally adore…..along with another 14 year old fat cat, an 11 year old lab/pit mix, and one very rotten Jack Russell.

My daughter just moved back home with her two cats. So, yes, we have 4 cats and 2 dogs in this joint. Lots of fur.

You’re doing great things for your life. Good choices. And you and your husband have a wonderful love story. I’ve never had one of those. But, I admire those that do.

And I sure understand what it’s like to start thinking about life without kids around to parent 24/7. Change can be so disconcerting. But, it can be exhilarating too.

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