Do you ever have moments when you sit back, take stock of your life, and grieve because it’s not what you’d planned? I’m going through that now.
My husband and I have separated. We originally agreed to share the house – me living upstairs and him finishing the basement the way he wanted and living downstairs. We’d share the kitchen and laundry on the main floor. Now, he wants to buy out my portion of the house. I know that mentally and emotionally, it’d be easier. Yet, I’m having a hard time letting go.
I wasn’t supposed to be starting over at this age. We were supposed to be easing into retirement in this home we bought together. I’ve spent 8 years creating a backyard oasis. Last year, we put on a 600 square foot deck that is more a work of art than a wooden structure. I had plans to build a fountain, dry creek, and arbor this summer. We have a beautiful south exposure and I enjoy being in the yard.
Even after we separated, I wanted to believe we could truly be roommates. It wouldn’t be much different than how we’ve lived the past few years. Now that I’m not trying to salvage our relationship, I see his true colours. He’s stopped trying, too. I doubt we can even be friends going forward.
I’m looking at giving it all up to move into a condo or townhome. I can’t afford to buy him out if I want to retire at a reasonable age. For the last few years, I’ve had the better paying job. Our agreement was always I’d support the majority now and, because he had more in RRSPs, he’d support the majority in our retirement. Now, I have to uproot my life, pare down and purge, move out before my son leaves the house (he wants to stay in the house where he’s grown up), and give up my dog – not many condos accept a 120 pound rottweiler – no matter how friendly he is! I can’t imagine a life where I don’t have my own yard space and it’s been 32 years since I lived without at least one dog.
I’ve spent the past week or so feeling sorry for myself. Last week, my Dad moved into long-term care. He’s completely lost his sight and, after four years of living with me, I can’t take care of him anymore. I could barely leave the house for more than an hour. I’m also coming up to the two year anniversary of my mom’s accidental death, I lost my job in the fall, and now I’m losing the house and neighbourhood I love.
I’ve been working to reframe my thinking. I am truly experiencing Midlife Arising!!
I get to go into the next stage of my life on my terms. It will be the first time I own a home that is what *I* want. The compromises I make will be based on my wants and needs – no one else’s. I can choose where and how I live. If my son decides to come live with me – that’s fine. But, it will definitely be “my house, my rules”.
The neighbourhood isn’t going anywhere. I won’t live here, but I can visit my friends.
Dad is happy in his new home. He feels safe and his needs are met 24/7.
Will I miss this place? Yes. Will I miss putzing in a yard on the weekends? Yes. Will I miss my dog? Absolutely.
Yet, as scary as it is, it’s exciting. I’m thrilled and sad. I’m eager to see what the future holds, and grieving what I thought it would be.
Change is messy. It’s hard. It hurts. Yet, somehow, when we let go of the past, we come out stronger in the future.