My life has certainly changed in the 5+ years since I left the countryside in Grafton for the suburbs of Boston and the city itself on weekends. My old photos show fields and horse farms and the graceful town common with its gazebo and white steepled churches.
The scenes are serene and also rather lonely, though I loved the land with its seasonal changes, the old houses, the horses I saw every day on my walks.
Now there is the hustle-bustle of the city interspersed with the semi-quiet of my residential urban neighborhood and occasional walks through the local cemetery with its chipmunks and crows. When I first moved to Belmont for work, I could walk up to the Habitat Audubon Center from my job for regular doses of nature, but it's no longer within walking distance and now I visit only rarely.
Yesterday I sold my condo in Grafton, the official deed registered Monday morning after the closing on Friday -- nicely in time for Christmas. I hadn't lived there since 2007, so I'd already left really. But the financial responsibilities continued as I rented it out, tried to sell it in 2010, and rented it out again until October this year. Now the final cord is cut, 26 years after purchasing it in the summer of 1987. I remember after the closing, sitting on the floor of my empty living room looking up at the expanse of the cathedral ceiling, light pouring in through the skylights with promise.
I suppose it was never really "mine" -- the bank always owned more of it than I did, and in truth I never expected to have it so long. There was a small boom in real estate then, certainly not the massive bubble that came more recently, but I expected to live there for awhile and eventually leave and make some money on it. Instead I rode the tides for more than 25 years, rented it out for 2 years in the early '90s while living with my then boyfriend, got laid off, moved back in, refinanced more than once and took money out each time to keep afloat as I built a freelance business that crested in 2001 and thoroughly tanked after that. I rented out my lower level for years to help pay the mortgage, and to have some company. Then there was the long commute for the first year of my job in 2006, followed by the big move out in the summer of 2007.
When D and I went out in October to paint a couple of rooms to spruce the place up for selling, I thought about moving back and staying there for awhile. The commute to my job would have been long, though I could have worked at home a couple of days a week. But there was so much of it worn down and needing replacement, the threat of many things breaking down and requiring money I don't have. The market might pick up and the price rise a bit, and my mortgage was increasingly paying down principal. But I would be so much farther away from D, there would be the ungodly hassle and expense of moving, and I like where I'm living now. I had some lovely times at my condo, but I felt stuck out there after awhile. I wanted to get unstuck.
So now I am free and probably unlikely to own again since housing is so expensive here. I was always over my head anyway, a single person with rather limited income. While I currently have a good job, employment is never very secure anymore. I didn't make enough on the sale to buy anything else, but I won't feel strapped and I'll have a bit of retirement savings. We'll see what the future brings.