On 24 December 2009 at 1030, I left the last part of 5 years of my life behind. We packed up the last garden items into the truck and left Old Home for good. The house recorded later that day.
It was a bizarre feeling: we walked through the house one last time, where 4.5 of our lives had been spent. Going through sparked different memories: a spirograph that Nighean gheal had left on her window when we moved; the dirty spot right above the baseboard in our closet where my desk was and where I rested my feet; the bedroom that I had painted and then told The Ravishing Mrs. TB "You watch - we'll have to move out of state; the asparagus in back, dormant for the winter, waiting to be cut back and then be cut in spring for the first time. All of this mingled in the background of family events and Thanksgivings and Christmases and Nighean dhonn's birth, loomed over by the specter of The Firm, which had made it all possible.
And so out the door we went, shook hands with our Realtor, got in the truck, and drove away.
I've been asked numerous times since then "You must feel a great sense of relief". My response is always the same: "Not really. It's been so distant to me for so many months now, sort of dragging on out of my control, that it's less a sense of relief than a sense of 'one more thing off the list.' As an event, it simply is not registering."
But there is a sense I suppose - a sense that is not quite fully registered yet - of finally being at an end: an end of The Firm, an end of 5 years of self-imposed financial instability, an end (if I think about it) of a period of whipsawing back and forth between careers and directions. 2010 will be, if nothing else, a year of new beginnings.
And perhaps that in itself is a reason for rejoicing.