The day I say goodbye to a physical, symbolic stepping stone in my life. A place I laid roots and experienced many, many different transitions. Not only manifestations in my external situation(s), but transitions within myself.
I moved into this apartment recently after graduating college. And I bought it. It was something tangible that was mine, it was not a rental. It felt so warm and inviting, I knew it would be a friend to me for a long time. And it was. It was always there just at the right time when I needed it to be.
I was so young and hopeful when I moved into this space. I splashed it with color and breathed life into it. And in the next few years, those walls witnessed some of the most pivotal memories and experiences of my life. A new puppy, an engagement, a marriage. A pregnancy, followed by the birth of my most precious daughter. I grieved the loss of my enchanting canine companion, Ursa. I fostered several puppies then adopted a new dog, Raja. Then, a separation. Depression. I moved out. Then I moved back in a few months later. I spent several years within this space raising my daugther as a single mother, working around the clock, when she wasn't home, to make ends meet. I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and earned my certification as a Holistic Health Coach. I became divorced. I began a relationship with someone from a previous chapter in my life. I eventually became pregnant, again, and moved out a second time. And admittedly, there have been times since then that I wanted to run back there, again, to my "safe haven."
Doing a final walk-through today, I can't imagine what it'll be like to never go back there. Though I will still be paying the balance of the loan (Yes, like so many people out there, I owe more than it's worth) - it will no longer be a place I can run to or call my own. It has served me through so many times in my life, both joyous and trying. It was a nuisance on one hand, yet my safety blanket on the other. Handing over the key... is like letting go of all that once "was." It feels so finite and concrete.
As I walked back to my car after my final walk-through, I snapped some photos of "rubble" that was once a beautiful display of natural art, built by my ex-husband. It felt as though those days I recall are naturally merging into and being absorbed by the Earth in the same way as the actual, physical stones and signposts are. New life (plants) is growing around and over them. Their color has faded, the structures have been broken and moved around. Much like the hopes and aspirations and stepping stones of my journey thus far.
I guess it'll never really be gone. Like everything else, it is stored in my subconscious even if my mind tricks me into thinking I have forgotten and lost so much.
I am so grateful for that apartment. The good, the bad, the ups and the downs. Good bye, old friend. I hope that you wrap up the new owner in your loving arms and extend the same gracious hospitality as you did for me and my family. xo
...and so I go, onto the next stepping stone on my journey.