I am about to move, and it’s been an emotional journey. I love the apartment I am leaving. It’s the first place I ever bought. I purchased it when I became an empty-nester, as a platform for the next chapter of my life. My goal was to expand my social life, enrich my work-life balance, and give more space to romance than I had as a single parent.
So, I found a cute one bedroom apartment smack dab in the heart of Manhattan, and made it my own. Every single day for the past 10 years I’ve been grateful for this amazing home. Within a stone’s throw of Broadway, I’ve spent many evenings finishing a home cooked at my table at 7:45pm, while making it to the theater in time for curtain at 8 o'clock. I’ve hosted lots of holiday meals and enjoyed dozens of drop by visits from friends and family. And my rich dating life led to meeting a wonderful man, who moved in 2 years ago.
To make space for him, I cleared out half of every closet, cabinet and drawer (though he’d argue that I have since stolen much of it back). Yet, despite my efforts, the truth was that my beloved one bedroom space was not quite built for two. So, after a long inner debate I decided to put my home on the market. It was time to finish my chapter, and begin ours.
But when the open houses started, you could tell I was still attached to my home. I’d stick around to eyeball who showed up, and create entire narratives around whether they were right for the space. One couple looked like they were big book readers from Seattle, and I thought -- I want them to buy it! Needless to say, my agent scolded me, and said that I needed to stop getting emotionally involved.
A few weeks later, I got an offer from a couple that loved the apartment so much that they asked to buy some of the furniture. I was so relieved. It felt like a sign that they understood and appreciated the apartment. My soul was happy that these were the people buying it.
Though we are moving to a great 2 bedroom apartment in a fun new neighborhood, saying goodbye to something you love is never easy. At first, I found myself looking for things that were wrong with my current apartment in attempt to make the transition easier. Then I realized, I don't have to hate this place or find something wrong with it in order to move forward. I can love and appreciate it for everything it has done for me, and still be ready for the next adventure. I can thank the old for paving the way for the new.
Anyone facing a transition, such as a move, job change, divorce, empty nest, or retirement, knows that change is usually filled with mixed emotions. During times of transition, be gentle with yourself--- remember that you don’t have to reject your past to make room for your future. Times of change are filled with opportunity, and it’s good to know that you can make the process nurturing by honoring the best of what you have created. I decided to take my own advice, and follow the principles behind SHED:
Separate the treasures — Identify what is truly worth hanging on to.
Heave the trash — Release what’s weighing you down.
Embrace your identity from within — Connect to who you are without all your stuff
Drive yourself forward — Explore the direction that expresses your genuine self.
I realized that though I am leaving the home that I loved, I am not leaving the life I loved and created. I’m bringing all of that forward. In fact, the thing that really helped me cross the emotional bridge was discovering that the our big french country table fit perfectly in our new dining room. I treasure the memories made at this table the most and am thrilled to break-in the new place this Thanksgiving with our old gathering place (and the friends and family that sit around it).