There’s a For Sale sign on our lawn.
The listing for our house will officially appear tomorrow, but the sign is on our lawn now.
“How can you make a decision like this so calmly?” a friend asked a couple of weeks ago.
Calm? I’m not calm about anything right now (and evidently I wasn’t entirely prepared for that sign to go up).
I’m not calm about the stuff going on at work, and I’m certainly not calm about the fact that there’s a FOR SALE SIGN on the lawn of the house we’ve lived in for almost 9 years – since before we were married, since before we had our dog, since way before Connor was born.
As far as the stuff that happens next – big move, new house, new job – I’m excited about parts of it and, frankly, in denial about the rest. I’m almost 37 years old and I have spent most of my life living very near my parents. I’ve got really good friends here – pseudo-family kind of friends – I don’t want to leave. Both of those things make me want to barf.
But here’s the thing: I can’t stay here. Oh sure, in the literal sense I could. But in the larger-than-life philosophical sense, I can’t.
Last night as we cleaned and tidied and did the last few things needed for a photographer to come and take pictures of our house, I saw the news that Steve Jobs had died. I was sad; more sad than I would have thought, actually, but I’ve enjoyed revisiting his words of wisdom. Such as:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
I think this is genius. We always hear, “Live each day as if it were your last,” which is romantic and inspring but totally impractical. If I knew tomorrow would be my last I’d hop on a plane for Hawaii. I’d go out for dinner with my boys and overeat to an insane degree and then have the most decadent dessert on the menu. I’d spend hours sitting by the ocean. I’d write a really, really long letter to my son. Some of those are things I could do today – or any day – but I can’t do them over and over and savour the moments as though they were my last. Life doesn’t work that way.
The brilliance of the above quote by Jobs is the “too many days in a row” part. Ignoring the little voice that says, “no” is how years go by until we realize we haven’t done what we want to do in this lifetime.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out and I’m not entirely sure what I want to do next. I know the general direction, but not the specific vision. According to Mr. Jobs, that’s okay:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
So I had my little cry about the For Sale sign. I’m not saying I won’t shed many more tears by the time this process is done and I’ve left my first house and the city I grew up in, but in my heart I know those things are secondary.
Linking up with Just Write – The Fourth: