Moving: suddenly but not-so-suddenly, a big decision clicks

I made a big life decision, and it took less than a week. I’m selling my house and moving to a much smaller rental apartment.

The idea of making a change germinated 18 months ago. I was recovering from major knee surgery after a trip-and-fall in the summer of 2019. I was on a day trip to Italy from Slovenia. (I talked about this on @theweeklyreview, if you want to hear the tale of how I ended up in a Trieste emergency room for 30 hours without a phone charger: “Putting the Trip Into Day Trip”)

I came home to Portland for surgery, and I was not mobile for three months. A little later, I was visiting the apartment of a young friend who recently moved here, and I thought, “I could do this.”

My house is big for one person. When I moved here in 2008, I had young nieces and nephews who enjoyed sleeping over. During App Camp For Girls, I hosted out-of-town volunteers. The house has upstairs rooms, and a downstairs basement where laundry gets done. Thanks to my awesome surgeon and physical therapists, I am able to do stairs again. But I don’t love it. There will always be a twinge, a reminder of the accident, of the fact that I’m just getting old. I saw how easily one’s life can change in the blink of an eye, one paving stone can change your future. It could (read: will) happen again.

It’s a good time to be selling a house. I was on the verge of doing a major (read: expensive) landscaping job to control my out-of-control hedge and thinking about refinancing to take out some cash to cover house maintenance projects over the next few years. My sister pointed out that maybe it was time to sell anyway.

And it just clicked. The clincher was that there are some very nice new apartments a block from my house. I like my neighborhood and neighbors. I could postpone the decision about whether to buy something smaller and where I would be willing to move.

So I have a lease starting soon, and I’m doing small sprints of decluttering and recycling to get the house to a pre-pandemic state of neatness. Moving is a big stressor, I know, but the fact that I’m feeling excitement instead of anxiety now is a sign that I’m doing the right thing.

Jean MacDonald @jean