While scrolling Pinterest a couple weeks ago, an image popped up that said “I love those days when my only decision is: window or aisle?” And in that moment, I found myself nodding – don’t we all crave those days? When big decisions don’t exist? When we’re headed somewhere new, somewhere far away from our routine? Because the truth is as we get older, life gets complicated. It gets busy, it gets over-scheduled and life gets… harder.
I just moved, sold our townhouse and bought a house, am in the middle of some major deadlines for work, teaching double the classes I was expecting to this quarter. And in the midst of it all, are there days when I would rather just be choosing window or aisle versus signing my life away to a new mortgage, unpacking what seems like five million boxes of my belongings or trying to get colleagues to get me the items I need to meet a submittal deadline for a large project… that answer is a solid yes, I would much rather be jumping on a plane to escape everything and just having to choose window or aisle.
But here’s the thing, life isn’t life without the hard stuff. Being an adult is hard, everyone has challenges, no matter how beautiful their life looks from the outside. We’ve all got stuff we’re dealing with, stress we’re trying to manage, family issues we’re not publicizing. Life only gets harder as we get older, that’s just honest. But, I’ve always believed that without all those hard decisions, without the tedious work that sometimes beats us down, without all the large life decisions we make that bring on so much stress, those moments when we do just get to choose window or aisle, when everything falls in to place, when the decisions we’ve made year after year finally pay off, that is the reason it’s all worth it.
I’ve had a number of people remark to me in the last couple weeks while selling our townhouse and moving, “you guys just sold your townhouse without a backup plan of where you would move next?” And the answer is, yea, pretty much. We knew it was time to move on from our townhouse and we definitely had multiple options and ideas in place for what was next, but we genuinely didn’t know at the time which would work out and had no definitive plan of where we’d head next when we sold our townhome in NW Portland. And while that might seem reckless to some, for me, as Type A as I am (and while I definitely always have a backup plan in mind), I genuinely love the rush of open possibilities. It might bring stress, because how could it not when I didn’t know where I was going to live next? But sometimes, life will open up possibilities for you when you least expect it, when you don’t have expectations, when you just open yourself up to being free, to letting life happen.
When we first walked through the house we ended up buying, I had totally resigned myself to having to give up my dream of renovating an old house. I had no expectations that day we looked at houses with our realtor. And then, we walked in this little 1925 Dutch Colonial with the original hardwood floors, a gorgeous old built-in in the dining room and a picket fence and I just knew it was right. Those moments when you open yourself up to what life wants to put in front of you, feel almost like magic when they happen. When you just know that the choice was made for you. It’s the same with falling in love or visiting a place that you just spontaneously adore without really knowing why. Those moments, they are only possible when you can let go of expectations, when you can let go of making the big decisions, because those will come anyways – open yourself up to the possibilities of whatever might come your way and you won’t regret it.
In the end, our situation was really serendipitous with buying and selling homes this time around (it was definitely the opposite when we bought our townhouse and I think Karma tried to throw a bone our way this time) but I really believe that we have enough big decisions in life to make, sometimes, it’s ok to open the door and see where life takes us without a real plan in mind. So while those easy decisions like window seat or aisle seem pretty amazing on those days when all hell is breaking lose, just remember, take a step back, take a breath and remember that even while it feels like you’re in the trenches, without the long hard work, without the hard choices, without the never ending to do lists, those moments of feeling completely free of burden wouldn’t be worth it. And when your life seems hopeless, when the stress is pounding down on you and the weight of the world is on your shoulders, try to let it go and let life lead the way. Try to let the world make the decisions for you and open yourself up to the possibilities in front of you, even if they are different than you thought that you’d want. Sometimes being totally open to whatever comes your way will bring you more peace than you ever could have found on your own and the magic of the possibilities in front of you will lead the way.
I’m going to take a couple weeks of blogging as we move into our new (to us) house – but I’ll be back at the end of September with all new content!