Time to Leave Simplicity?

van gogh simplicity

Leaving home, in a sense, involves a kind of second birth in which we give birth to ourselves.           

Robert Neelly Bellah


The question comes up every so often.  Is it time to leave Simplicity?  Recently the question arose once again.  Not for the reasons why many at our age are downsizing and moving into smaller places. Not because we don’t love living here.  Not because this old house takes work.  None of these are the reasons this question keeps revisiting. The nudge to leave is whether a change in our living conditions would refresh our creativity.


I have personally experienced how a change in one’s environment changes perspective.  A new setting often leads to a new life, new opportunities, new learnings.  This has been true for many artists over the centuries.  Two come to mind. Picasso moved around. In each place he lived, he picked up a different method or color sense or change of interest.  Each place helped him develop his artistic voice. Georgia O’Keeffe found her new self and totally different subject matter in New Mexico.  New York had drained her creative energy.  Don says, “We are too comfortable, too content, living in Simplicity. Our patterns are too familiar.” I understand.  Is this contentment lulling us to sleep while we desire to wake up?


We are not thinking far or wide in this possible move.  Just a different residence in this same geographical area that gives us more flexibility in how we engage and create in our space, live our lives.  Simplicity is a house of many small rooms which has its own charm.  Now there is a readiness for openness, undefined space, and lots of light.


While I say that this change of residence is not related to our age, we want to be wise and responsible.  One floor.  One story.  We have talked that when one of us dies, the other has no intention of staying in Simplicity.  This has been a house of togetherness.  A house filled with the stories of integrating our lives and finding a common path.  Death of one would bring a difficult story for the other to live. Neither of us wishes to leave Simplicity in a shroud of sorrow.


Over the seventeen years we have lived in Simplicity, this question has been given serious discussion five times.  Our realtor has been patient as we try to proactively navigate the what next, where next.  We have spent weekends visiting open houses, toured apartments, condos, new construction.  Each burst of this search has resulted in coming back home to Simplicity, feeling loved and supported by this old house. On the financial side, we want to be prudent.  This is not when we will take out a mortgage or put our life savings into a house.  We have looked, yearned, imagined, written our list of desired features for our new living working space.  Simplicity is up to speed if a quick sale is in her near future.  She is of sound structure and looks great.


So, we wait.  We are open.  We continue to prepare by minimizing our load, letting go.  We have clarity of what is important to go with us and what to leave behind. What has suited our lives in Simplicity, will likely not fit our new ones. When we find our next home, we will be ready.  Perhaps part of this urgent desire for something different, is the desperate need of a long vacation.  This has been a year of intense house projects and demanding art commitments.


Each place we have lived has given us energy, invited the creative spirit, and nurtured our love for the other.  Our next home will do the same. Simplicity, an understanding partner in this process, is a wise old house.  Perhaps she is the one kicking us out, pushing us into what will be another chapter of life.  I wouldn’t put it past her.

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