Letting Go of Everything

The decision to sell my house wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I’d been living in a truly magical neighborhood (Oakland’s “Trestle Glen”) for over 18 years,

My humble abode, 1254 Bates Road, Oakland, CA. Yeah, I like purple.
My humble abode, 1254 Bates Road, Oakland, CA.  YES, I like purple

raised my son there, and, until a neighbor lost his fucking mind and decided to spend every waking moment harassing me, my family and guests (because we were parking too close to his driveway, for instance), I had planned to stay there for at least a few more years. I was reluctant to let go of the money machine my house had become, because of the irrational exuberance of the Bay Area real estate market, knowing that once I sold, it was essentially a one-way ticket out, and that there’s no way I’d be able to or even interested in buying a home at today’s prices.

I paid less than $200K for my home, and you can see from the photo that it’s nothing special, just a nice sized 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1-1/2 story home on a slight hill with a one-car garage, nice level back yard, with a formal dining room and a great in-law unit downstairs.  However, homes on my block are EASILY selling for over $1 million, which is crazy. NONE of these homes are worth that kind of money, in my opinion, and at 87 years old (she was built in 1929), she was starting to need a lot more work than I wanted to do. So, I’d heard that the Bay Area is approaching the end of this latest real estate bubble, so I decided to sell now and let someone else, with a whole lot more money than me, come in and have at it.

Okay, so once I sold my house, THEN what? No house meant NO MORTGAGE, which was reason enough to celebrate ($4,000 per month was REALLY cheap by Bay Area real estate standards. Lots of folks pay far more in RENT every month … it’s madness), so I decided to examine my options.

  • I could find someplace relatively affordable to rent (yeah, good luck with THAT), but with Oakland now rated as being one of the most expensive markets in the country, recently surpassing San Francisco (as more and more people have fled SF because of the insane rent levels), I would have to move farrrrr away from the Oakland/Berkeley area I love;
  • I could try to buy something smaller, maybe a tiny home (I just LOVE the whole tiny house movement), but even just finding a lot on which to place a tiny home in the Bay Area is not a viable option because land is just too valuable/expensive;
  • Mobile home, perhaps?  Nah.
  • Leave the country and finally live out my dream to travel the globe, with a nap sack on my back, and explore this amazing planet, one great adventure after the next.

After careful consideration, I realized that, now that the kids are all grown and don’t need me anymore, what’s stopping me from finally living MY dreams?

Me.

So, I sold my home, I’d already given my 7-series BMW to my son when he went off to school, so all I had left was a ton of furniture and 30+ years of stuff I’d accumulated over the years, neatly packed into every nook and cranny in my house.  Shutting down my home was overwhelming and than goodness my cousin, Forrest, came out from Detroit to help me with this. Just having here there to call and deal with all the utilities, find movers, help me pack and help me decide what to weed and what to keep took such a load off of me. In the end, we were still scrambling around trying to figure out what to do with the appliances, but by the time noon Monday rolled around, the house was empty and we had either stored, donated or tossed just truck loads of stuff. Thank you, Forrest. You have been a treasure to me my entire life and I cannot find words to express just how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me.

In the end, it was just stuff. My boys used the furniture and appliances, linens and towels, kitchen stuff, etc. to furnish their homes, and my daughter even got a few pieces she’d needed/wanted for her home. Seeing how much I had accumulated, I realized how stuck I’d been in the past, holding onto decades of worthless crap, like every monthly statement I ever received from Bonwit-Teller, who went out of business way back in 1979. I’d held onto them (and countless other useless receipts and paraphernalia) all this time, neatly packed into boxes, labeled by year, and stacked into storage rooms in my basement, thinking that, for reasons unknown, they needed to be kept.

Not anymore.

I am now debt free and will remain so for the rest of my life. No longer carrying that anchor of a mortgage around my neck, no car note, not mechanics fees, I am LOVING this new way of life. All that I was holding on to was actually holding me back. By letting go, I am free to fly. Oh, this just keeps getting better and better.