I'm helping some old friends move today and it reminded me of all the times in my life that I have packed up my stuff and tried starting again in a new place. When I was a kid, we moved a few times, at least 7 that I can remember and each one brought me no closer to finding my place in the world. As an adult, I continued this pattern with coming home and going away an astounding 8 times in 13 years. I would leave for a variety of reasons, being a smart ass teenager was one, a failed marriage another; but mostly just because I had a burning desire to get out. I would move out, love my new life for a while and then retreat to something familiar when I got my ass handed to me. This probably would be continuing to this day if it wasn't for my wife.
We have been together for almost 18 years and married for 12. When we first got hitched, we lived in an apartment and saved as much as we could for the down payment on a house. It wasn't easy, but after 2 years we had enough to start looking. Not the quickest thing to do from what we had heard, but we were prepared for a long search to find our home. How wrong we were. We went to see a big old century home in our preferred neighbourhood and Kat was quite right in seeing that it was way out of our comfort zone in terms of repairs, style and upkeep. I was on the fence, but then Rick, our realtor, suggested since we were down in the area, we should see his newest listing for comparison. Why not?
When we pulled into the long driveway, I saw the two car garage at the back and was intrigued. Then we went in the front door and came around the corner from the living room that was off the foyer, this was the moment I knew we were going to buy it. The house was a standard two bedroom, but the owners had put a full addition plus a sunroom on the back of the house. the look in my wife's eyes told me all I needed to hear. That sunroom was a window to a huge, overgrown yet potentially amazing backyard. The property backed onto a ravine and with all that room, we could have some fun back there. We couldn't put an offer in soon enough. It was a few days of back and forth but in the end we won our dream home and have been here ever since.
While contemplating the purchase of our home, I have been thinking about all the times I've talked about selling it and moving somewhere else. Not because I don't love it, quite the opposite. It is my favourite place in the whole world. My Grotto in the backyard for all my warm weather needs. Decks on decks is the motto and I build them as I need them. My basement bar, which I've dubbed Merle's (A place to get Haggard) after one of my favourite classic country stars, is my winter hangout and the place where I feel most at peace. But I have a rambling spirit and I imagine new adventures await just over the horizon. In reality all that awaits is spending another ten years getting everything up to the awesome place I have now. Kat always brings me back down to earth when I want to move to the west coast or Toronto. She knows that I am happier here than I will ever be anywhere else and it is her who keeps me from doing stupid things like moving every year or so.
But still the open road pulls at me. I haven't lived in one place this long since I was a kid and some part of me will always miss that freedom when I didn't have so many responsibilities and could just pack up my belongings and go. That wouldn't be easy of course, I have accumulated ten years worth of stuff and even with repeated clean outs, more stuff appears every year. So I will remain firmly planted in my home. We may not have the best of everything, but we have enough of what really matters.