“What if the culmination of your heart’s desire lay just slightly beyond your comfort zone?”
I don’t know where I read the above, so I offer my apologies for the lack of credit to the person who originally penned them. When I first read it, I liked it enough to save it in my Little List of Quotes I Like. And now I have the perfect situation in which to use it.
It’s never been tough for me to act outside of my comfort zone. Check that–let me rephrase. It’s never been that tough for me as an adult. Growing up in a strict Catholic Rhode Island family, one was never encouraged to act outside of one comfort zone, but rather to follow the rules.
I did that for a while, then found it wasn’t for me.
So, I know the benefit of stretching outside of one’s comfort zone. But when it came time to move, once again, I was done, done, done with the stretching. Gimme a little peace and quiet and some stupid TV, whydontcha?
Each time Jeremy and I have uprooted ourselves (or been involuntarily uprooted) of late, we truly believed that the next adventure (a.k.a. housing situation) would be the one where we’d settle in for a bit. Each time, we’d pack up our stuff (and while we have less stuff than most, the amount is growing, and it’s nonetheless a pain both physically and emotionally to box everything up and transport it) drag it to the new place, then try to settle in as quickly as possible. Each time, we sighed with relief once we got into our new digs.
Each time we ended up saying, “Phew! Glad we’ve done that for the last time!”
And each time, something went wrong. Maybe a lovely permanent home situation just isn’t in the cards for us. Maybe we should just settle for good enough.
But then I began to think about the above quote. What if the culmination of our (residential) heart’s desire was just one more stretch away? The again, what if one more move would just put us back at Square One, only with less energy, patience and money than we started?
We ultimately decided to make the stretch. Whether that means we’ve perfected the art of self-growth or simply that the situation in our house got so intolerable that we felt forced out is a matter or perspective.
So we sighed, grumbled shook our heads over the incredulity of the whole mess and began the process again. We hired a realtor, scoured the web boards, read every ad in the newspaper. And we looked at every house in San Miguel, or so it seemed.
We didn’t think that we were that picky. A place to sleep, a kitchen big enough for two to cook in, a couple of offices. No dogs barking. Outdoor living space. Reasonable rent. Clean.
One would think.
With each house, though, there would have been a tradeoff of some kind. Too much street noise for Jeremy at this one, more rent than we wanted to pay at that one. A poorly designed kitchen in another, antiquated bathroom fixtures in that one.
As the barking dogs continued to frazzle our nerves in our current living situation, we started to get a little desperate. Jeremy tried to convince himself that he could learn to live with buses running up and down the street in front of our house for 18 hours a day. I pondered how to make the inefficient kitchen work for us. Each time one of us contemplated making the move to a less-than-perfect home, the other one talked us out of it. (Thank heavens there are two of us and we don’t usually go out of our minds at the same time!)
We finally gave ourselves a deadline. By September 30th, we agreed to pick one of the houses we’d seen and make it work. On the 27th, we sat down with a list of all the homes we’d seen and listed the pros and cons of each. We settled on one in particular that met most of our needs. The fact that it was on the market for sale was a big con for us, but otherwise, we thought we could make it work.
I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that that was going to be the one.
And then we found the country house.
The house was a bit outside of town, so I didn’t have a lot of hope for it when we first put it on our list. We’ll have to drive everywhere. Even though it’s only a 10 minute drive to town, we’d lose the opportunity to amble into San Miguel Centro for a meal, to shop, etc. And I didn’t even know what the rent was. But we went out to see it anyway.
“It’s a Vermont house,” I whispered.
“A what?” Jeremy asked. “Ummmm, Honey, I know we’ve been looking for a while, but we’re still in Mexico, I believe.”
I lived in Vermont for many years and in spite of the freezing-ass cold winters, it is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. I raised my children there. It holds a most special place in my heart.
And this house could have been plunked down smack dab in the middle of Williston Vermont and not been out of place. Wide-board mesquite wooden floors, a massive stone fireplace, an open great room/kitchen. A loft sleeping area. Lots of light. And 360 views of the hills. Gardens, an outdoor bar and dining area. Not too big. Not too small. I could practically smell the porridge cooking on the stove.
I stood in the middle of the living room and breathed in the faint smell of residual wood-fire. I was home. I looked at Jeremy and didn’t even have to ask what he thought.
“This reminds me of the house I grew up in,” he said.
Jeremy grew up in California and I’m not sure how this house reminds him of his childhood home and me of my Vermont home when they seem like they’d be pretty different. But I’m gonna go with it regardless. The Universe wants us here, for sure!
And when you’re in the place where you’re supposed to be, doors fly open. The rent was within our budget; the landlord is a fabulous man with whom we connected immediately. He graciously (okay–with a bit of subtle pressure on our parts) offered to speed up the get-the-house-ready projects he wanted to do so that we could move in quickly.
The contract-negotiation process was smooth, we easily found movers to help us with the big stuff. Everything went better than we expected. Less than a week after seeing the house for the first time, we were in. Five days after that, we’re unpacked, our favorite pieces adorn the walls and we’re having friends over for dinner this evening. I know where the light switches are and already I can walk around in the dark without bumping into furniture. My soul knew this house before my body moved into it.
So, this is what it feels like when you’re in the right place at the right time. Everything clicks into place and you know–deep inside–with absolute certainty, that you’ve found your heart’s desire.
I’d forgotten that feeling. But it’s come back to me quickly.
Proving once again, it seldom hurts to stretch beyond one’s comfort zone.