If you know me, you know how much I love houses. I've talked and written about my desire to sell the home I shared with my husband for so many years and find a cottage of my own. A place to jump start my life once again and get my creative juices flowing. Part of that journey is captured on another blog The Cottage In My Mind. When I wrote my widow memoir, I was still so happy in my house. So many good things came in the following years. But I knew if I stayed in my home of thirty years my life would still be good, but it would never be different. I felt change had stopped and I needed to kick start myself again.
This year I moved on. The universe and the man above took me an hour outside of Atlanta to a charming small, slightly rural, town where I now reside with my pack of hounds in a wonderful 1906 Historic cottage.
The biggest adjustment for me? There is no pizza delivery here. No delivery of any kind of food. I am the gal that doesn't cook and ordered dinner through Grub Hub so I could stay in on a rainy night or groceries from Instacart when I was too darn lazy to get in my car and buy dog food. I am learning to plan ahead. My little town does have a grocery store, but they don't carry my brand of dog food. When you run out of kibble and have five dogs staring you down at dinner time you learn to get organized quickly.
I am fifteen minutes in any direction from lots of shopping, but I see pastures of cows and horses on my drive. I am only an hour away from my friends in Decatur so we still have dinners out. I like to go visit Decatur, but my heart and home are now here in Social Circle. My friends like to come and shop the great antique shops in the surrounding towns.
My farm fantasy is well fed. I landed here in the middle of a chicken war, where folks were campaigning to change the city ordinance to allow backyard chickens. The ordinance changed and, gee, I could have six chickens in my yard if I were a crazy lady who wanted to have five dogs in an uproar. Won't have chickens, or goats, or sheep, or horses on my property, but I see them everywhere I drive.
I think the most amazing thing is at 68 years of age I made a major move to my dream house. I didn't go to a condo. I didn't downsize because I am getting older. For some folks that is what they want. And we all need to do what we want, especially at this age. Smaller was never in my vocabulary. I am an antique furniture freak. I have a passion for old cupboards, farm tables, artwork, and never plan to give up the things I love, the way of life I have made for myself, until they put my ashes in a lovely vintage urn. Then come to the biggest estate sale my friends will conduct.
My one concession, all my rooms had to be on one floor. Gone are the days I want to climb stairs, my hip surgeries brought that message home. In reality, my dogs can't go up stairs either. The short legged hounds couldn't get to a bedroom on another floor, and we all sleep together, all the time.
I look at my cottage in awe. Eleven foot ceilings with amazing deep crown molding. A center hallway that holds more furniture than any room in my old house. The previous owner renovated this cottage so beautifully with an attention to detail that is beyond what I would have done. My hard work was hiring someone to paint all the walls white. The house sparkles in the sunlight.
The dogs love the yard. I did put up a privacy fence to keep them contained and well, private. What they don't see they don't bark at. The yard, as I look out my kitchen window, is beautiful. Flowers keep blooming. Lots of roses by the little white shed and herbs down the driveway. A huge front porch begs for friends to visit and share stories over wine.
The last twelve months were difficult. My hip surgeries, the loss of my mother, selling my house in Florida that she lived in, and finally selling my house that was the home I shared with my husband when he was alive. Letting go of so much to move on. I still have difficulty walking, but I managed to keep moving forward.
My hip surgeries scared me. Living by myself with all my dogs a constant fear nagged at me. What if something else happened? If I stayed in my old house I had the comfort of the closeness of friends and all that was familiar. I lived next door to a hospital. When my husband died, I felt sorrow, but I had my health and could run from my fears. When my health became an issue I was vulnerable. I couldn't run away from myself, I could barely move on a walker at first. In a new town I would be totally on my own.
I had to make this move. Letting fear rule was not my style. If not now, when? After all, I am not getting any younger.
The timing was perfect. My house sold the same day I listed it. I put an offer in on this cottage the next day. Thirty days later we sat at a closing table. I sold my house in the morning and purchased my new home at lunch. I had thirty days to get my act together and move.
The "cottage in my mind" is now my reality. Yes, I am getting older, but I am living on my own terms again. The move proved what I knew in my heart. With faith and courage anything is possible.
I. AM. HERE. HEAR ME ROAR.
The little house in my back yard. Plan A is to make it a studio.
Plan B is to keep it for storage of all the furniture I am still buying.