On New Year’s Eve, we sat at a restaurant with two of our best couple-friends and over good food and good wine we talked about our lives in 2013 and shared our hopes, dreams, and ambitions for 2014. What I didn’t know just 5 months ago is that something would shift in us and all our good intentions for 2014 would get placed on the back burner and instead we will for the second time, be building a house this year.
Ten years ago, we built our current house. (And when I say we built, I don’t mean “we got a contractor to build for us.” We did most of the work.) And we love our house. We love the land, we love the neighbors on our street, we’ve loved our kids’ school. We’ve loved our life on Chase Lane. In fact, most of the time over the last 10 years, Jennifer and I have struggled with guilt: we feel like we don’t deserve to live in something so nice.
But, I’m restless. And, if you read my last marathon post, you know that I want to be a person who “does epic shit.” And I’m a little perfectionistic about some things. And, I’ve told Jennifer over the years, “you know, I’d love to build again.” But, she’s much more stabile than I and simply wasn’t open to the idea.
But about a month ago we were talking. And due to some unfortunate timing and bad choices 8 years ago, we got into a situation with rental properties that causes tension between us and unnecessarily stresses our finances. And as we talked we realized that we had two options before us: we could either dig ourselves out over the next 10 years, or we could sell our house, pay off our debts and start over.
And so we’ve talked. And talked. And talked and talked. We’ve talked about almost nothing else for the last month. And once we opened ourselves up to the idea, other pros & cons presented themselves. And we’ve moved from never-leaving-this-house to it-seems-the-best-idea-is-to-move. And then, we started to talk to our inner circle our friends. And a week ago, we sat with my parents and our close friends – the kind the really tell you the truth – and for almost 3 hours talked through our ideas, all the different angles. And they asked good questions, trying to help us see the best pathway.
And in all of the talking, it’s become clear that this is the best pathway for us. And so, this weekend we’re showing our house to a couple that we really like who have told us for years that they would buy our house if we ever sold it (“ha, ha, just kidding, but seriously”). And today, we put in an offer on land.
And we’ve cried. (I’m tearing up sitting here in the coffee shop writing this. Totally embarrassing.)
I can’t tell you how much we’ve loved our house. And how much we’ve loved raising our boys with Todd & Jenni and their kids. And how we’ve loved Cindy Norton and the kids’ teachers and Kickapoo baseball. And Jubilee State Park has become my own cathedral where I’ve run and lost nearly 70 pounds.
But, in a deeper place I know that this is true for me: when you have a chance to change your life for the better and when the people around you affirm your choice, you do that thing: even if it’s hard to do. (And more tears in Starbucks. The woman next to me has to think I’m loco.)
And I told my dad yesterday, after we met with a zoning board, that I feel building this time is kind of like when I signed up for my second marathon: I know that it will be hard. But I also know that it will be rewarding. And there will be days that I want to work – I really do love building. But there will also be days where I just want to go home and watch TV for the evening or go out for dinner with friends. And there will be times of incredible community. But there will also be times where I will be working at the house late at night, and I will be so very lonely. There will be blood and there will be tears.
Brene Brown says of parenting: “In terms of teaching our children to dare greatly in the ‘never enough’ culture, the question isn’t so much ‘Are you parenting the right way?’ as it is ‘Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?'” And this is the tipping point for us choosing to build a house again. We want our boys to grow up to be young men who do the right stuff, even when it’s hard and it even scares you a little bit. And so, for us, for them, we are building a house this summer.