It is about 6pm on January 5, 2020. Our last night in our home of three years in Philadelphia, but also our last night in my home of Philadelphia since 2011, and my home of the Philadelphia area since 1985. And, whoa, I am getting hit hard with the feels in my stomach, including but not limited to: comfortability, familiarity, all of the good things that have happened in this house and since Kait and I have lived in Philadelphia together, sadness of the 99.9% chance that we will never live in this house again, and fear. Fear and nerves about the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, the unknown, the lack of financial stability, the uncertainty of where will be over the next month while we close on the houses, move, have a new floor put in our new house, a trip to St John in the middle of all of this.
Our trip to St John was decided prior to us knowing where we were moving. This was a trip decided on a whim of sorts. When we went to Bermuda in September 2018, American Airlines offered $1000 vouchers to go out on the next flight out, the following morning. It was raining in Philadelphia and in Bermuda that day. Kait and I were in no rush, we’d only lose out on the money we spent for one night at our Airbnb. We took the vouchers, so we got $1000 American Airline vouchers each. It was a great decision. The vouchers expire a year from the day they are issued. When Kait and I started to think about considering a move to Cape Cod, we also knew that our the remaining bit of our $1000 voucher was going to expire.
For whatever reason, I thought that it was expiring on September 26 and we were going up to the Cape September 20-23. So, we figured we would go up, assess if we think we would consider moving there and then decide where we would go and which airport we would depart from. On September 20, I decided to take a look at the voucher…luckily! The voucher actually expired that day, September 20, not September 26. We had no choice but to book flights to somewhere and from somewhere. I had been doing some research on flight prices to the USVI, so we just decided to book flights to St Thomas. Then we also just decided to depart from Boston. The timing and the prices were right for us, so we called and booked the flights. We are excited to go. It’s good timing and weird timing. Neither of us have steady jobs or income lined up so it feels strange going on a trip, but it’s also great timing because it’s is winter and our house is having work done and it’s prior to us getting started on new jobs and starting to settle into our new home.
Fear, man, fear. Fear of change is so freaking real. It is scary.
To make it worse, we had my parents take our dog, Avett, earlier that day. It didn’t make sense that he would be at our house while the movers were going to be there the next day. Avett has been a huge part of our life since we have been in this home, so it was just adding to the feelings.
I sat with these feelings for a bit. I then walked in and shared these feelings with Kait. I could literally feel the sunken feeling in my stomach start to seep away. By simply sharing my feelings, it started to feel right again.
During this whole process of selling this house, buying our Cape Cod home, and so on, I have always felt very good about it. Any doubts or fears I had were very short and fleeting, that day, however, it was much more. Other than that time, which probably lasted about twenty minutes, no fears holding me back. Since that period of time, I have not felt it again.
The next day, the movers came at 8am and were done by 1pm. As we watched the house empty, I only felt good. As we walked around our empty home for one last time, it felt right. I looked at all of the work we did and the character of the home that is unique to a 95 year old home, I felt very happy. I felt proud of the energy we created and carried on. The space feels good. No fear. No sadness.
I look at this whole process as a huge practice in not getting caught up in comfortability. To not get caught up in the material things. A house is material. The space within the house, the energy, the warmth, the love, the joy, the experiences are not material. The walls, colors, and materials can be recreated. The location cannot. Our love and the comfort we create will come with us wherever we go.
It is now about 7am on January 16. We have bounced around from our Philadelphia home, to my parents, to Kait’s parents, to a hotel on Cape Cod, to our new home, back to Kait’s parents, back to my parents where we are now. We will then hit that same trail again, back to up to my in-laws, then to a hotel on Cape Cod, then hotel at Boston Airport, then St. John, and then when we return from St John we will finally be able to start to settle in our new home. It’s a lot.
We have been living out of a suitcase since January 5 and will continue to do so until the end of January. We have been very busy, but it’s been so fun and exciting too. We are having new flooring put in throughout our new house so we can’t be in it yet. We had our first three nights in the house with the very old stained carpet, which we are very happy to be replacing with wood.
We could let the fact that Weston has been sick with his first bad cold this entire time and having some of the worst sleep of his short little life get us down, but we don’t. It has simply become part of our experience. It is trying at times, but I try to let Kait sleep in and we go to bed early. Weston seems to be on the mend, as they say, so hopefully his sleeping will go back to his normal of sleeping through the night with the ability to put himself back to sleep. Right now, when he awakens his cries lead to coughs and to a more runny and stuffy nose, which confuses him and it starts a bit of a cycle.
I believe too many people let fear and comfortability hold them back. I am determined to not let that happen. We have to let go of fear. We have to face these fears. We have to stop letting comfort and familiarity rule and run our lives. I believe this is a huge characteristic of the ego and not thinking for one’s self, only listening and believing in the collective mind.
I believe that we all have choices as to how we live life. We have to constantly work on the way we view life, the decisions we make, and the reactions we have. If we don’t, we start to lose sight of the joy and love of life.
The fear of repeating the same path as we have or someone in our life has before us is going to limit us in so many ways. That is living in fear of the past. Fear of losing someone or something, fear of death, fear of failure, fear of someone people who are different from us, fear of being different, fear of embarrassment, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen, fear of fear are all only going to bring you deeper into a dark spiral. We can face these fears, which are only in our mind, and we can mitigate their presence in our life. Where there is opportunity, there is always failure. Failure, or learning as I like to call it, is necessary and good.
Quick aside: Many successful people in our society talk often about the necessity of failure. It is part of the process and helps us grow. However, failure is often still viewed very negatively. Failure is still not really accepted, so we tend to fear it. The school system is a big part of this view because failing is not accepted. We start to learn this from a very young age, so why would it be any different anywhere else in life. We have to learn to think for ourselves. We need a community, but we don’t have to be accepted by a large basis of society to be successful or live a fruitful life. Failure is simply a word we use to describe something, so can’t we just as easily call it learning? Now all of a sudden it takes on a different connotation.
The more we let fear control us, the more we contribute to the societal dark side. The more we destroy ourselves, all living beings, and nature. Doesn’t it say something that in the past fifty or so years, we created the majority of the plastic, other waste, and gases that are speeding up the destruction of life on Earth? Doesn’t it say something that only four U.S. presidents have faced impeachment, three of which have been in the last forty-seven years?
Maybe that is a good thing. That people are not allowing the President to abuse their power, but I tend to think it’s more individually driven for power. Power wanted by the President, by his people, by the House, by the Senate, and so on. It’s sad that it is difficult to tell the true motivations of individuals and of a collective.
The societal creations of desire for comfort, convenience, and power (often associated with money) has led to a highly fear based society. Even those who use fear to their advantage to cultivate power are most likely living in fear themselves. We know this because when humans do not live in fear we have the desire to love, help, and spread joy. We are grateful and kind. We care about all living beings and the earth and the universe.
Many people do not think for themselves. They are not living the life that they fully desire, instead falling into the common limitations of society. I’m not living the life that I fully desire, but I’m aware of that and I am closer now than I ever have been before because I am constantly working on myself and working towards living that life.
That fear of change I had in that moment on January 5 has not been present since. Neither Kait nor I have looked back or wished we had done anything differently. The day we got to our new home on Cape Cod was perfect. Though the temperature was warming, there was a coating of snow making our quintessential cape style home look extremely picturesque. (The snow was gone the next day) At night, the sky was clear and the moon was almost full, large and bright, especially reflecting off of the snow. After we put Weston to bed, Kait and I walked out front and out back to take in the moment. We hugged, smiled and said “this is it. This is a huge reason why we moved here. This is incredible. This feels right.”
There is a lot of spiritual/life wisdom in Star Wars, a long with a lot of other things – some bad, some good. But the path to the dark side is led by fear. This is very real. As Yoda says, “The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. … Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. … Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”