When we prepare for a competitive event such as a triathlon, there are many moving parts that must fall into place. There’s the training for each sport with all its many challenges. Then there is always the equipment to consider as well. Shoes, kits, fuel and hydration. Bikes, goggles and brains, if you can remember all that.
Wrapping all that together is the logistics of the event. From registration to making sure your chip is on your leg at the start, there is so much to consider.
The process is something like a rehearsal for life. It’s true for participants in individual sports as well, such as swimming, running and riding. Success is all about preparation and execution.
Sometimes, things do go wrong. I recall the morning years ago that I roused my companion to make the trip to a race. We left at 5:30 in the morning and drove thirty miles to the collar suburb of Chicago where the race was being held. Only it wasn’t. Not that day. The actual date of the race was a week later. Needless to say, she did not join me the following weekend.
We all learn a few things about being organized along the way. Some of these life lessons are directly applicable, such as checking dates on a calendar to make sure things are taking place when we think they are.
The unexpected is also a part of life, however. That means being adaptable when things do not go as planned.
Gotta get a move on
With that notion in mind, we recently set about preparing my home for sale. That meant prepping the house as well as cleaning out the excess junk that accumulates in 20 years of living in one place. Finally, you get down to the things you actually need and want to keep.
But to sell a home, you need to stash your personal stuff in bins out of sight so that people who want to buy your home can enter the place and easily imagine themselves living there.
It’s all a bit dehumanizing, a process of partially erasing your own existence in order to justify the sale of your domain. But that wrench of emotions has its benefits, like being shunted to the bar on the quad the day you drop your first child off at college. It’s best not to look back. Just let it all go.
Even small changes like that can open your eyes. That certainly happened with my house. You can take a look at this beauty by looking it up at 367 Republic Road in Batavia, Illinois on Realtor.com. I hand-painted those walls. Hand shined those floors. Worked with a staging lady to put the furniture just right. And it sold in one day. That’s kickass, my friends. And my Realtor Lori Johanneson deserves some credit.
All that change in a short period can give you a brand of seller’s remorse. Yet while it is difficult in some respects to sell, in other ways I’m proud to hand over this home that I found on my own 20 years ago by driving around Batavia when we could not find any other homes that suited our interests and family needs years ago. It was For Sale By Owner through a family estate. I made good on the bargain through a handshake with the son of the man that had owned the home since it was built. Salt of the Earth.
And when we moved in, our children grew fifth and first-graders. They grew into adults before my wife passed away from cancer in 2013. I’ve kept the home the last few years and tended the gardens to my own tune. But now it’s time to move.
I met a woman that I love and we both have agreed that it is best to start our lives together on a new and equal footing. Selling the family home comes with some pain because it carries the memory of my wife as well. The transition these past few years has included difficulties for all of us in grief and consideration of what our lives have become.
In my case, the need to change is real. While I’ve worked for myself the last three years, I’m not ready to retire in any sense of the word. In fact, I’m eager to try some new things in the work world and have learned so much in my consulting business that can contribute to organizational success and that is my plan. To re-engage. My son and daughter are also embarking on new adventures.
But before my fiancee and I can move, we have to complete a couple house closings. The first will be on the home we’ve purchased. Next will come the home that I’m selling. Those dates did not match up. So we’ve had to call an audible. Sell, buy and move. That’s the triathlon of existence.
We’ve already moved an entire household of goods (other than the furniture) into my home along with Sue and her family. We’ll move it all again in two weeks when the new home is opened up.
For now, we’ve adapted quickly over the last couple days. The cats were in shock at first, but they found their places in our master bedroom soon enough. And actually, they seem to love all the new angles and obstacles they get to explore in this place. My home is like a giant jungle gym to them.
Of course, hauling all those possessions is enough to make you want to become a monk.
But we all seem to love our shit, don’t we?
Until we don’t. The brother of an associate years ago engaged in an extramarital affair that amounted to a mid-life crisis. At one point he told my friend, who works as a lawyer, “All I need is my bike and my tennis racket, and I can be happy.”
“Keep talking like that,” my friend warned, “And it IS all you’ll have.”
The raconteur soon gave up the affair and rejoined his wife. Then he found another great job in his profession and is happy again in his marriage. The truth of the matter is that depression can do awful things to the mind sometimes. The thrill of that affair felt like freedom for a bit, like living again. Call it brain chemistry. But call it a near tragedy as well.
It’s a bit like that even with the sports we love. All of us enjoy the affairs of sport; the race prep, travel and adrenaline all give us the thrill of newness. But sooner or later we also need to come home.
It works the other way as well. Sometimes home itself can seem like a proposition too fixed or burdensome to bear. So we up and move. All our stuff. We cart our memories along as well. Some are stuffed in boxes. Others get stuffed in our brains.
I’ve moved many times in life. First when I was five. Again at 13. Then at 15. Again at 19. Then yet again at 21. Plus all those moves back and forth to college. After college, two more moves before I was 22, all the way out to Pennsylvania and back to Chicago.
Then several others including moving back home for a spell by the age of 26, right before I got married. Then we and moved into a rental home and then our own home at 27. We lived in that little brick bungalow eleven years until we purchased the home I’ve owned for 20 years. I’m proud of the fact that I tried to provide a solid, stable home environment for my children that perhaps I never had growing up.
It ain’t easy
No one said moving is easy. My fiancee has had to move several times in the last five years, so we both dreaded the task a bit. As I write this, I heard her let forth a Whooo! from upstairs in the kitchen. The mortgage loan just got approved.
We’ve already put our backs and sweat into moving truckloads of boxes to my place. Two Men and a Truck stored her furniture until we can get it two weeks from now and bring it to the place we’re getting together. Then we unload and start again. It’s a moving experience in any regard. You gotta love it.
Then we can get back to running and riding and swimming with a new vantage point on life. And working a bit too. There are still bills to pay. Things like that.
So better get a move on.