We are moving this weekend. We are not able to keep the house.
There are a lot of factors coming into play here. This winter has been the hardest Maine has seen in a while -- over 100 inches of snow piles up very quickly, sagging the roof and trapping us in the driveway. Our state passed it's record for frigid temperatures in a specific amount of time and make no mistake, we definitely felt the wrath of that; frozen pipes twice, car batteries dying, and a near-constant need to fill the oil tank again drained our bank account and our patience.
I usually pride myself on accepting responsibility and rising to the occasion. Above all else, I am able to keep an unusually cool head when stress strikes. Within the last four months, however, it seemed like everything that could go wrong for us did: J lost his job. Twice. Both of our cars went into the shop. We ran out of oil. The loan spiked unexpectedly. Our furnace wouldn't turn on.
At some point you go from handling stress well to trying to live inside of it.
At some point it's not worth it.
I don't do so well with failure. This deep, sinking stone in my chest feels like failure.
It strikes me as a delicious irony, candy sticking to rotten teeth, that the week J and I are moving is the week I am teaching my Preschool class about how love is the only thing needed to make a home. I sat in the floor and showed them pictures from around the world; their sticky faces were topped by wide eyes as they saw homes made with mud or stone, blinding white rows or bright thatched huts. We sang about being thankful for what you have and recognizing that being with a loving group of people is what makes your house a home.
It gives me pause.
It makes me think that, even though J and I are packing up our life in these brown boxes once again, these brown boxes do not necessarily hold the sum total of my life.
These are just things. Yes, they are things that I have bought, that make me happy, that tailor my house to feel like it really reflects me, but at the end of the day and at the end of my rope they. are. just. things.
Just like this house is only a structure.
Just like my failure is a matter of opinion.
My proclivity is to view the world in a black-and-white way. A few years back I would have viewed someone in my shoes as a complete failure, inept at functioning within the confines of adulthood; having to go from house to apartment would have been seen, honestly, as a regression.
Dealing with people for a millisecond will tell you that nothing about that worldview is true. People are a marriage of beautiful and ugly, and I believe that you need to experience both to live a full life. How can I appreciate the good without the bad? How would I learn to fly without knowing what it felt like to fall?
All over the house, my things are resting in cardboard boxes. I've stripped the walls of the art, the pictures, and I've said goodbye to the obnoxious colors I was so excited to paint. All that remains are the curtains to keep out the cold and the furniture I cannot force into a box. This weekend I will move those things from one set of four walls into another.
It's fitting that we will be moving into an apartment on the first floor because I do not take this move as a step up or down. It could be a stumbling block or a stepping stone, but it is up to me to decide.
Failure or future. Or both.