I drove by the building I sold earlier this year and my stomach unexpectedly churned. I thought I had moved on and let go of this part of my life and punctuated it with a period or perhaps even with a happy punctuation mark, but seeing the fence around the building that had occupied much of my time and housed my business for about 15 years hit me viscerally. The erecting of the fence signals that the demolition of the building is immanent. I thought I had come to grips with this in stages over time, so my reaction upon seeing the fence was unexpected.
I thought I had moved on…
I had put a lot of my energy, focus and resources into ongoing renovations of this pre Revolutionary War structure. In the beginning it was a fresh project to tackle and get on top of and a perceived “better” location for my business, but as the years progressed and after a head injury and then health issues, it wore on me. With this endeavor I had stretched myself too thin, unable to juggle all the tasks in my life. I realized that being a landlord and owner of this extra half-acre was not for me and really had never been. Being a landlord always felt like excess baggage and it became increasingly harder to carry. I finally admitted my need for change during the course of a yoga teacher training (a dream deferred for seven years) in 2012. I decided to quit my landlord job. I put the property on the market and sold it. I was happy to be making this positive change to simplify my life and pursue my future in a way more aligned with my personality. I did have hopes that whoever purchased the building would lovingly continue the renovations that I had begun and pursued over the years, but the new owners have other plans, other dreams.
And now they are acting on them, taking down the old building and rebuilding fresh. They’ve been to the town board. This is their prerogative. They have plans and dreams that are theirs, not mine. … hmmm, not mine… The building is not mine any more. I don’t want it. I sold it. I thought I had let go and moved on.
So why did I have the visceral reaction that I did when confronted with the imminent demise of this past part of my life? Aside from being an indicator of a permanent end to something, like seeing the body in the casket, which evokes a normal amount of sadness/grief, there’s probably a fair amount of ego and attachment involved. “I like quirky old buildings. To me, they are cool and interesting.” “I think 200 plus year old saplings holding up the crooked roof are cool, too.” “I think it’s better to renovate than rebuild because I like old stuff.” “I put years of effort into renovating the building and now someone will disregard everything I have done and destroy it, devaluing my effort, vision and decisions.” That’s a bunch of “I” statements and energy invested in attachment to something that is not mine any more. Time to shed my tears, truly let go and move on.
When I purchased the building, I tore off porches, changed external entrances, removed crumbling chimneys, redirected staircases, opened up walls, and installed large picture windows. Some in the community were unhappy with the changes, attached to the building as it had been, wanting me to restore rather than renovate. I had other plans just as these new owners have their own plans. They are not proverbially kicking over the sandcastle that I built, they are simply manifesting their plan, their dreams. My “I”ness is not involved. Letting go. Moving on…
… and so, I wish the new owners much joy and success in the manifestation of their dreams, the care of their property, their new construction, and I look forward to seeing a new family flourish in town. 🙂 I also intend to enjoy my current plans, my current dreams and the “is” that is now, always unfolding. 🙂
What about you? Have you ever found it difficult to let go of something and move on?