For the last three or four years, I’ve basically avoided my basement. I might venture down to clean it…water some plants…replace some towels after a guest stays over…but for the most part, I didn’t spend time there. It’s actually an awesome room. It was set up to be an office and entertainment room with a walk out to the back yard and can double as a third bedroom…so it’s a great place to listen to music, watch movies, enjoy the yard. But until this week I couldn’t bring myself to hang out down there. The basement was where husband #2 (ugh…I hate having to distinguish between 1 and 2…there was only supposed to be one) spent a good deal of his time, especially in the last year of our relationship.
We’d been living in an adorable 1960s bungalow but had reached a point that we needed to sell or put a bunch of money into it so I started looking downtown. I wanted to be closer to friends and loved everything that was happening downtown so that’s where I focused my search. I think I looked at every house, condo, townhome that was on the market…or at least it felt like I did. I thought I’d found a townhome but it sold the day after I looked at it. The market was aggressive and I needed to be too. I was checking MIBOR daily…multiple times a day. When something new popped up, I knew it quicker than my realtor. The morning the house I live in now was listed, I called my realtor and within a couple of hours we were the first to see it. I walked in and knew it was my house. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. Logically it was a great deal and had everything I wanted, but it was more than that. I felt that it was where I was supposed to live. I fell in love with it at first sight. Out of courtesy more than anything else, I brought husband #2 back the next day to look at it and wrote an offer in the living room. It was mine.
Anyone that visits says the same thing. “The house has an awesome vibe.” It’s welcoming and centering and gives you a big ol hug when you walk in. Every room of the house just feels good and you want to hang out there….except the basement.
Shortly after moving in is when our problems started…well, more accurately when our problems became obvious enough that our friends started to notice and we couldn’t really ignore them anymore. We stopped doing stuff together. We stopped interacting beyond pleasantries and taking an hour for dinner in the evenings. He spent almost all his time in the basement, at his desk…working. Really, I suspected cheating or porn too, but nope. He was working on new projects…learning new stuff…unlocking talents he didn’t realize he had. Enjoying a solitary life and I was sitting upstairs with the realization that yet another marriage was about to end.
So for me, the basement came to be his “space”. Even after he’d moved out, I’d walk down there and could still see him sitting at the computer. I tried re-arranging the furniture – multiple times – and it didn’t matter. The basement held all the memories of a failed relationship…it was cold…felt darker than the other rooms. It was functional…just as beautiful as the rest of the house…but there was no life in it. It was a no man’s land.
This week I decided, enough! My retirement was equal parts finding myself and taking control of my life…living with purpose. My purpose this week would be to rid the basement of those old memories…to reclaim the space as my own…to live wholeheartedly in my whole house.
I’ll be honest, I was expecting the process to be a big ordeal. I was expecting to have to sit with it for a while…to baby step my way back into the basement…eventually feeling comfortable in it. That wasn’t the case at all. After spending half a day throwing away old papers, putting pictures and books in boxes that weren’t mine or didn’t need to be displayed, I re-arranged the furniture with the intent of making a space for me to write. I had told myself that it was time. I needed to move my computer from the dining room table where it was a little too easy to sit in front of it all day…because let’s be honest, that’s what I’ve been trained to do for the past 15 years. I was going to make a space in the house…in the basement…that I would go to and write…each day.
I think reclaiming the basement was so easy because I was ready. I’d made my mind up to do it and my heart had let go of the what ifs and feelings of failure. The mind and heart were in alignment….no ego to sabotage the effort. It was time to move on with my life.
For the past three days, I’ve written my blog from the comfort of my basement. I still have work to do to get it exactly like I want it…I need to hang some pictures…finish unpacking the boxes I brought home from the office…maybe pick up a new chair to lounge in. But it’s good enough for now. I know it’s a work in progress and I’m ok with that. Funny, I guess I have a lot in common with my basement….it may become my new favorite room. 🙂