My dreams never fail me. The changes are here, which all those dreams of hurricanes and tornadoes have been forecasting, and they are all good changes.
When my son drove away to go home after his most recent visit, I had tears in my eyes. I held myself tightly and tried to go inside and get busy with things right away, but something just changed inside me. Though I have amazing friends here in Frederick, there is nothing like being near my son, who really is the only family I want to live near. I started to look at the numbers for what it’s taking to keep me in my current home — the lawn services (mowing, fertilizing/aerating/weed treatment, and leaf removal every fall), the maid, the people who clean the gutters, who do the power washing, and so on. It adds up. I weighed my feelings about living in a very liberal state versus a conservative one. I weighed my feelings about having to start over with new local friends in a new area. I kept coming to the same conclusion. As much as I love my home, it’s time to let it go.
I had a long talk with God, because my anxiety went to 11 as soon as I made that decision. I said, “I know that you are in control and that you will take care of me. Here are my fears…” And I listed my fears. I let them go.
On Friday I met with my Realtor friends and they went through my home to determine what I needed to do to sell. It really isn’t a lot. I think I can get away with less than $8000 of work to the place. The market is still good, so I don’t think it will take long to sell, once it’s listed. It’s a damned nice house with abundant curb appeal. I have my list of things to do now, and as soon as they’re done, new pictures will be taken and the house will be listed. It should sell in less than a month.
So then I began to fret about how scary that is. I thought, I could end up being between houses. What would I do then? Would I have to move twice? I went back to praying about that. I’ve learned to trust God since having cancer. Nothing is really ever in my control. Whether you think there’s a God or not, you have to admit that letting go and realizing you have no control over things is the best way to take the anxiety out of the equation.
I’ve been looking already, for a few weeks anyway, at houses in the area around my son’s place. I’ve looked at RVs. I’ve looked at tiny houses. And then I began to look at small houses on foundations. I found a few possibilities out there, but there was always something just a little bit wrong with them all. And then yesterday, after listing my fears to God again, I sat down with my phone and started to browse Zillow. There it was! The cutest little 2BR/1BA home you ever saw. Flat plot (which would work well for a riding mower), ranch style with a basement, new everything, fenced yard (for Adele) with a pretty little pergola that has two swings and a fire pit, mulberry bushes, blackberry bushes, pear and fig trees, and a great kitchen.
Maybe I’m crazy, but Sean is going with his Realtor to see that house plus one other tomorrow. I’m going to contact my lender for a letter of pre-approval. Buying before selling is a little terrifying, but the good thing is that by pulling a little money out of my IRA, I could put enough down to easily swing two mortgages if I have to for that short period of time. I know I’m very fortunate to be able to do this. Despite everything life has handed me, I have continued to work hard and put money away. Not everyone is so fortunate, I know, and that isn’t lost on me. I only wish the stock market wasn’t in the tank right now. I’ll be selling some stock at a low ebb, but I won’t be losing money on any of it. It’s all higher than when I bought. And once my house sells, I can put money back into the IRA to make up for it. (Then I can buy some stock at bargain prices.)
Yes, I’ve given this a lot of thought. Now is the time for action. I’m starting to downsize, but I won’t have to downsize as much as I would have if I were moving into a tiny house. Instead, I’m hoping to move into a small house on a foundation. This particular house is about 10 minutes from Sean. It’s close to shopping and it isn’t far from the hospital and the cancer center, so I’ll be able to get follow-up care and regular checkups. It’s like it is meant to be.
Once I get moved and settled, I know that I will have freedom. I will no longer have to worry over finding people to do all the things I can’t do. If I need a little something fixed, Sean is right there. If, God forbid, I have a recurrence, Sean is right there – and so is the cancer center. I’ll be in easy driving distance to Charlotte and Asheville, so I won’t feel like I can’t go do things. If I want to (in retirement), I would have room to put a vegetable garden out back. I won’t have the time or energy to put into it right away. But there are so many options for me. As Sean pointed out, too, there’s plenty of room for a hot tub!
Even more appealing is the fact that I will be able to afford to retire when the time comes. I’ll easily be able to live on my Social Security and the money in my retirement accounts. That just wouldn’t be possible where I am now. This area is expensive and trying to find a condo or ranch style house up here would be next to impossible within my budget. And I had to ask myself, where do I want to be? The answer is always, “Near my son.” And I’m lucky enough that he feels the same way. He was even going to let me put a tiny home on his property, but this will be better.
I’m looking forward to living life at a slower pace in a home I can easily take care of myself (or with the help of my boy, in a pinch). It’s a place I can live out the rest of my life in peace and comfort – security!
I’m so full of hope right now! Dare I say I’m happy? I don’t want to jinx myself, but it’s looking very good for me to move into this next phase of my life. I have something to really look forward to!
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!