January 15, 2012

Lessons from a Big Change

Here we go again. Our lease renewal arrived, I took a couple trips out with a realtor and  logged many hours on to realtor.com. For the past 2 years, January has been the month of big decisions. Do we stay, do we buy a home, do we make another big change? Through all this contemplating, I've realized a few things.

What frustrates me most about our move is paying more money for much less space. It drives me wild. I can deal with moving to a small space. In fact, I've realized that our house was a bit too large for my taste. If we were paying less than we paid for our home than I'd be excited, but we are too close to NYC for that. It is what it is.  I was raised in a town with big yards and a variety of houses with logical prices. Additionally, I learned from Suze Orman that it's a good time to rent and to go slow when making the next house purchase.

I prefer smaller homes
After living in various style homes and now living in a 2{4}story townhouse apartment I've learned that we don't need a big house. If we had about another 400 sq ft I'd be super happy. I think layout makes all the difference as well.....and closet space. The closets in this apartment are not bad, it's just that we brought too much stuff with us.

It feels good to simplify
I cannot believe all the stuff we brought with us. This was after we purged, sold, and gave away much of our furniture and stuff back home. We also have a storage unit back home filled with some antiques, outside furniture, and things we were not ready to part with. Here, we have a garage semi-filled with things. We've been slowly purging and it feels wonderful. We have plans to simplify some more.

This change has stretched us
I realized this after our first move many years ago.....when in our hometown I felt a bit frozen. Whether we realize it or not, we acquire labels as we grow. Family & friends know certain things about us.  Mostly because they've been along on your life journey. My sister and mother have told me that they didn't realize I was as strong as I was. You see, back home I am the youngest of 5 children. My mother had me when she was 32. I'm the baby, and I'm pretty much treated like the baby whether I like it or not.  When I'm in a new town there are certain things I am forced to do....certain ways I am stretched beyond my comfort zone. I remember while living in Ohio, I started an infertility support group. This shy and sometimes insecure gal from upstate NY reached out to people and organized meetings. I also volunteered with the Red Cross. Much to my mother's surprise, I spent many nights alone in Ohio while Greg was traveling. I'm the girl who crawled in bed with her parents until I was in my teens. I'm the girl afraid of the dark. You do what you have to do, right?!  It may be my childhood friends who remember me being shy or my mom remembering that I don't like to sleep alone, but when you are in a new town with new people and a new way of doing things you often stretch yourself because you have to. And it's a very cool thing. You learn things about yourself {and your children} that you never knew before.

This current living situation is temporary.....there is hope in the future
When we first moved to this new city, and this new way of living I would laugh to myself and repeat "what are we doing? This is so strange." It took a long time to process the big changes. Life is very different here. It even took a while to realize that we could go into NYC or drive to the beach when the desire struck. I still have not figured out how to use the train {and there is a station in just about every town}. I started realizing that we should take all the opportunities and adventures we could fit in because we may move again. And that brings me to hope in the future. Sam reminded me the other day "we won't live here forever, we are just temporary". Oh yeah! This is a temporary living situation...... going into it's 3rd year.......but still it's temporary. That gets me super excited and hopeful.

Who do I think I am?
Ok, that is a thought that's been running through my mind a lot....and probably not in the way you may think. When I start thinking about what type of home I would like,  complaining about this or that, I think to myself.....who the heck do I think I am? There are so many people in need, so many homeless or hungry, so many lonely. I don't want to focus on wanting that crown molding or wood floor.....I want to keep my focus on realizing how thankful I am to have a nice place to live, thankful for the great job Greg has, thankful for the beautiful twins the Lord gave us, that I'm able to stay home with our boys, that I can go to the grocery store and buy the food of my desire, that I can drink clean water! I don't take these things for granted. I want to be content in the here and now.

Take it slow
When we first moved to NJ I had this idea in my head of how things would be {or should be}. Shy me became this dorky outgoing girl who would go up to people introduce myself and shake their hand. I soon became discouraged when I realized that people were not as friendly as I had hoped. I soon realized that we weren't in Kansas upstate NY anymore. People are a bit more guarded here, a bit less approacheable. I've made a few mistakes along the way....because I was anxious to recreate what I had back in NY.....I allowed some wrong folks into my life. My gut heart told me to run, but I ignored that gut heart feeling . Let me tell you....if the Lord is speaking to your heart....listen! It will save you a ton of heartache and trouble in the end. Also, when a friendship is the real deal {and a gift from the Lord} you just know it. You can just be yourself and they "get you". I've learned to trust the Lord to put the right people in my life, along my path. I've learned to take it slow and listen. Well, I do often babble, but I'm trying not to be the gal who fills up the silence in the room. Why do I think that's my job?? I've been burned a few times and had a couple of really odd situations happen here in NJ, but y'know what.....even those things were probably necessary to get me to this knowledge and this better {emotional}place. I'm SO thankful for the real, dear friends in my life......near & far. You are like gold to me, my dears {and you know who you are}.

It's ok to be homesick
There is no place like home. I'm not sure when/if we will live in our hometown again. I love that I can close my eyes and picture it all......the houses, the parks, the stores, the people. It's ours wherever we go....wherever we live. We will wrap up those special friends & family and take them with us wherever we go. I've found that I've sort of been living in two places.....back home & here. I've not fully given myself to this new state. In some ways, I've remained temporary. Maybe it's because we will move again, or maybe it's just part of the process. It's all about going forward, learning from the past, and embracing the now.

And yeah, I'm still learning from this big change. I'll keep you posted ;)


Ruth Jackson said...

Just popping by to let you know that I haven't forgotten you. :)

However... Mom fell asleep to await the Resurrection, and things are a bit 'out of the ordinary'. I'll drop you a line when some semblance of normalcy returns....


Renewed Upon a Dream said...

Hey great post! Have you decided yet if you are going to move? Good luck finding a place if you do! :)

StacyB said...

You've said a lot here and found out a lot about yourself. Funny what birth order means, too. I am a first born. I often think about my kids and their birth orders.

Anyway - I trust the LORD will lead you to His perfect place for you. Forever, or for a season.

really.truly said...

Yeah, this post is a bit wordy, huh? :)
Many thoughts...and lessons along the way.

rebecca said...

You are a jewel, Mary!!

really.truly said...

Awww, Rebecca.....YOU are the jewel. Truly!

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