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My Beautiful Mid-Life Crisis

I have decided to live to be exactly 88, at which point I will drop dead onto the tarmac. I plan to have wispy tufts of lavender hair not actually covering much of my shiny smooth cap of scalp. I will be sporting a generous dollop of crooked-y pink lipstick, some on my lips and some smeared across my teeth, because, even at 88, I am not going gently into that good night.

I will be wearing an aggressively lime green pants suit. (Yes, leisure suits will have come back by then. Based on the 80’s pleated front blouses I am seeing EVERYWHERE, every awful fashion thing comes back eventually. ) SO, yes, I see me in one, a synthetic fabric suit as shiny and plasticene as an Easter egg, dropping stone dead approximately forty-four years from now.

My life is half over, best beloveds, which explains my recent behavior. Look, here is my midlife crisis:

It is all yellow brick with purple shutters. It is in Decatur. It is under contract to me, and in exactly 22 days, I will close on it and own it and go live there, taking with me these things:


2 Kids.

2 Dogs.

Maybe I will even take a freaking Boggart, if I can’t trick the people who buy our house here into thinking he is a perk. (On the house flier, I asked our realtor to put: “With good offer, the Fridge and the Boggart stay.”)

I will also be taking about a third of my stuff. Maybe even more like 25%, really. Because out here in what used to be the hinterlands, I have well over 3000 square feet PLUS a HUGE attic and 2 HUGE storage rooms and a double garage we can’t actually get a car in because it is full of crap. HA!

I am a sucker for built ins.

The new house? It started its life in 1950, as a two bedroom one bath brick bungalow with a living/dining combo, a kitchen, and a small keeping room. Since then, a master suit has been built into the attic and a home office has been added to the back, but I would not call it a LARGE house. It is just under 1800 square feet of living space with no garage and no basement and only two little dollops of attic for storage.

I am in the process of selling, giving away, donating, and as a last resort trashing close to 70% of ALL THE HORRID CRAP WE OWN. It. Feels. So. Freaking. Good.

Here is the thing. However much space I get? I fill it. With crap. Worse, one of the MANY facets of my diamond-like, delightfully shiny-hard and multi-surfaced mental illness is the thing where if I cannot see a thing, it stops existing. Almost immediately. For example, here is how I make waffles:

I get a whim to make waffles. I go to Target and invest $13.59 in a pink George Foreman waffle maker. I make the waffles, eat the waffles, think to myself, “Where can this waffle maker go?,” choose the most logical spot for a waffle maker, go to put mine away in this newly chosen spot, only to find the space is already CRAWLING with pink George Foreman waffle makers from all the other times I had a waffle whim and bought a maker which then got put away and so immediately ceased to exist in my memory.

This is the downstairs bathroom. The children must strive to be worthy of its elegance!

Well LORD we can’t afford country-sized living space in the city unless we sell all four of our kidneys. SO! We looked at all the space we ACTUALLY USED on a regular basis, the rooms we actually inhabit, the items we actually need for daily life, and we found a house we could afford with exactly that much particular type of space.

Everything else is flotsam and is in the process of being jetsammed.

My house here is under contract, too, and so my bridges, they are firmly burned up behind me.

Do you realize I said we should think about doing this to Scott ONE MONTH AGO. Like April 3rd.

LESS than one month ago, Scott must have realized he would drop dead at 90, and so he said OH YEAH WE SHOULD, and now all the troops are mobilized, the kids are giddy with alternating excitement and nerves, and the dogs have NO idea anything is happening and just want new rawhide chewies, thanks.

This feels like a family adventure— here we go, willy nilly, throwing most of what we own into an abyss and changing up our lives. Scott and I are tritty-trit-trotting joyously together into our nerd-version of the iconic sports car, the boob job, the toupee, the ill-conceived re-wardrobing at Forever 21, or the quickie in Shell Station restroom with a twenty-six old grad student named Delilah or Sven, depending. Why, the not getting gas station VD ALONE makes this a fine, FINE choice for a mid-life crisis.

I’m a little shell shocked. I am a little surprised at us. When did we grow a chutzpah?

True fact: We have calmly over dinner talked about our unhappiness with the loss of piglets and the gain of urban creep around us, and then IMMEDIATELY stated all the reasons why moving was not possible for us, because it is EASIER to just sit in a place where you are unhappy than it is to pack up the china and take financial risks and leap into space and CHANGE things.

Those are the original heartwood pine floors. *dies of love*

Why is it SO EASY to look at other people and say: WHY doesn’t she LEAVE HIM he is so AWFUL to her, and WHY does he stay in this job when it is making his heart explode with rage and tension, and WHY does she let her sister in her house only to be berated and abused, and WHY does he always pick to date the craziest girl in the room who tears him open and leaves him bleeding on the roadside where he lies until he can find another crazy awful exactly identical one to do it again.

It is so EASY to see how a change would fix all the lives I am not living, and meanwhile, I sat here for ten years, saying out loud to my friends, THESE PEOPLE I SEE SHOULD MAKE A CHANGE HOW HARD IS IT? and also SAYING OUT LOUD to my friends how deeply unhappy I was, and yet sitting in it, like a miserable frog in a pot of hot water, boiling myself because it was so much easier and less risky than HOPPING. There was no COMPELLING terror to move me — It is not a bad place, where we live. Lots of people love it. It is safe and pretty and full of trees and not a bad commute, if you work in town. SO we sat here.

This month? Scott and I grabbed hands and freaking hopped, baby, BOOM, fast, like ripping off a band-aid, before I could think too much. Before I could lose my nerve and talk myself out of it. And all it took was the certain knowledge that I am going to be ABSOLUTELY BE DEAD, sooner rather than later; in about ten minutes, actually, if my meager last 44 years speed up exponentially as my first 44 have done.

Who knew that one’s own terrible mortality could be so dern useful?

See this room? I am going to go write a book in it.

So, Best Beloveds, what about you? Is there a POSSIBLE thing you KNOW would improve your your life that you talk about but never do? Possible is the key word here. I mean, I want to own a Vinyard in the South of France and ride around it on a pink pony with wings. But I have good actual reasons why that won’t happen, like, not speaking French, hating vines, not being a millionaire, and that kind of pony not existing. I am asking, is there a thing you WANT to change, or that you know secretly you NEED to change, but that you will not walk toward out of inertia or terror or because you have just not yet quite realized that you CAN?

Or have you done this? Packed up the china and changed your life, for good or ill, bravely bravely and with beauty? DID IT WORK OUT? Are you GLAD? (And if it ruined your life, could you please comfortingly lie and pretend it didn’t?)

54 comments to My Beautiful Mid-Life Crisis

  • DebR

    My thing is the same as your thing – I NEED to move. Sadly, unlike you, no one is buying our place. We’ve been trying to sell for 3 years. Three. Freakin’. YEARS. (And yeah, we’ve dropped our price several times, switched agents, repainted the walls, sacrificed virgin goats, whatever…you name it)

    So if you can (AFTER both your closings are complete, so as not to jinx yourself!!!) send some Good House Selling Karma my way, it would be greatly appreciated by me, my husband, and all the virgin goats in the area.

    I LOVE the house you chose – it is UBER-FABULOUS!!!! YAY YOU!!!!!!!

  • Nice! You have lovely taste. Please do not paint over the purple shutters. And I love the new writing room. 🙂 Also, it is nice that you have a hopper for a husband. I am stagnant and stuck in Alabama. So I will live vicariously through you. Don’t be scared.

  • OMGOMGOMG! How exciting! The new house is fab and you will be so happy to pare down your belongings. Love the writing room. So very happy for this new chapter!!!

  • Firstly, the new house is loooovely. Secondly, I am so in my little pit not doing things I MUST do to make my life WORK and I am just a big ol chicken 😛 So, uh, I guess I’m glad I’m not the only one! (Oh, and when the opportune moment comes, please send house-selling mojo this way too heh.)

  • Julie in Colorado (was Austin)

    We just HOPPED!!! After living in Austin for 7 years but hoping to someday move back to our beloved Colorado (Austin is fabulous, but alas has no mountains), we suddenly had the chance to move here over Christmas. Our house which had been on the market for 3 years suddenly sold the same week my husband got a job opportunity here in Denver. We up and moved within 2 weeks of the decision. And it was CRAZY! We have 4 sons ages 6 to 16, for whom this was a huge adjustment, and we’re STILL unpacking and settling in, and it was ABRUPT and SCARY, but I think we made the right decision, even though we have a ways to go to make this HOME, it feels RIGHT. Good luck to you and your family Joshilyn! Your new place looks amazing! Go go family adventures! Carpe Diem!!!

  • Jenn

    What an awesome house! I am also a sucker for built-ins. My house has none but likely once had them and I’m constantly trying to shoehorn new ones into the few odd corners.

    We hopped 7 years ago when we up and left a perfectly comfortable life in my home state of MN to live in KY so my husband could pursue a graduate degree. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, took two years for me to adjust and then I loved it. I still miss that place! Now we’re in rural NH and not quite as happy in job and home but we’re in a good place so we’re waiting it out for a bit. We hope to get back to MN before the kids are grown and too aclimated to small town life, although I hear MN has them as well.

  • Ohh, lovely! That move is brave and bold and all kinds of fabulous, and so much better than the typical mid-life crisis of buying a Harley. Your new home reminds me of a much nicer version of my own (what wonderful taste you have) and the floors are drool-worthy.

    If I won the lotto (or even had a moderately wealthy distant relative leave me some cash) I’d pack up my family and move to Italy or Costa Rica. I know, big difference, but both lands totally enchanted me.

    Good luck. And HIRE movers.

  • My biggest hop, recently, was shuffling off my dream of finally finishing my education or finishing one of the many stories I doodle on occasion (things on my to-do list after all my kids were ensconced in elementary school) and educating my children. My oldest son is best described as odd, which is fortunate that he arrived in our household as we are pretty exceptionally odd. He has sensory issues galore and resides on the low end of the Asperger’s section of the Autism spectrum. To put it mildly, and make a long story short, school was hell. I was there so much they tried to put me on the payroll (not really, and too bad, actually). Then the child who was supposed to breeze through school had a horrible Kindergarten year; one that completely destroyed her self-confidence and dimmed her light a little. So after much research, soul-searching, and deliberation my husband and I decided that homeschool was where it’s at. And it is. I question my decision daily. How can I be enough? But then I see the changes one school year has wrought in both my son and daughter and I know I chose right. So far? Highly, HIGHLY rewarding choice AND? I get to teach a Kindergartener starting in June. And how fun is that?

  • Janie

    Luff, Luff, Luff the new home!!! I can’t wait to read the fantabulous book written in that new writing room! I too made a gigantic hop…quit a 10 year job (with benefits) to work part-time and finishing my English teacher degree. I graduate in 10 days!!!! Still no job but I’m sure that one will appear soon. So-face the fear and take the leap!! It is a wonderful new adventure and I can’t wait to share in yours!! Congrats on the new casa-it is lovely!

  • Aimee

    Hey lady, NICE HOUSE! It’s so pretty!

    I know a thing or two about hopping. Eight and a half years ago, my then-boyfriend and I packed up what we could fit into a very small U-haul trailer and moved from Boston to San Diego. We’d known each other for five and a half months. We didn’t have jobs out here. We didn’t know anybody here. We had a place to stay, but only for three months. What we HAD was a little money saved, and a dream that we wanted to be screenwriters. Today: we’re married, we have optioned three feature screenplays with one (we hope) filming this summer in Mississippi. It’s been (at times) brutally difficult, miles away from family and dealing with sickness and loss and feeling helpless because we just can’t afford to go back east frequently. Has it been worth it. YESYESYES.

  • kimberlyHdM

    Fabulous house–congratulations on ripping everything up to make it right. Reinvention is a beautiful thing. Your brave new world is giving more strength to shape my own. Thank you.

  • liz

    Yay on the hopping! I hope you have room for at least one pink waffle maker in the new place, and I wish you happy days and productive writing sessions there. And I wish Bogart luck in adjusting. : )

  • I leap. All the time. From NY to CA to NH to PA to GA.. and after being told the “responsible thing” was to stay still, make roots, I started to wilt. So now, we leap again, this time keeping one foot temporarily planted, while the other drags its toes in the sand at the beach. This time next year, am pretty sure I will have 2 totally different homes, and a brighter outlook on life. Good for you to not think about what ifs… great for you to let go of the clutter. Very excited for you!

  • Oh gosh, I am excited for you and positively inspired! Your new home is beautiful! I love love love the house I live in now. It was built by unskilled bonobos apparently (ducts that don’t connect to vents? the wrong size electrical wires everyplace? off-kilter staircase? we’ve got ’em!) but the floorplan and the way it flows is exactly right for us. I just wish I could move it someplace where summer is not 110 degrees and lasts for fewer than 9 months, is all. We ARE going to move, we are we are, sometime after the last kid has finished high school (which she will START in August). For reals. I swear.

  • It’s beautiful. Congratulations! My two favorite things are being at home and traveling (I know, very occasionally people make no sense at all) so I can fully appreciate your love of this gorgeous space.

    We are also working on a move, but I am the anti-packrat. If I haven’t looked at it or thought of it in a year and it doesn’t have tax-ramifications, it’s in serious jeopardy of the landfill.

    As far as leaping toward the greener grass? I’ve done it more than once, because there’s nothing like the feeling of competence. It’s better than joy. It’s better than feeling lucky. It might be even better than the second half hour of feeling sexy. (I’m not sure anything’s better than the first thirty minutes of feeling foxy. So, it gets a pass.) You give every indication of being a competent person. You’re a hell of a competent writer – and well beyond. You’re an engaging and competent speaker. You’re doing fine. You’re grand.

    Flex that competence, Lady. Bend this transition into the shape you and your people need. Then nest in it. Like I said, it’s gorgeous.

    Wishing you excellent weather on Moving Day.


    Scout’s Mom

  • Carrie (in MN)

    We did it – packed up our big suburban house in Texas and moved to a 1950s rambler in the city in Minnesota eight years ago in June. It was hard, but it worked out just fine. Ours wasn’t entirely voluntary – that is, the water that our particular frogs were sitting in was really close to the boiling point. If we hadn’t done it though, I don’t really want to think about what shape my husband would be in (long story).

    Actually, I think it’s interesting that you found it so hard to make a change – you’re obviously a risk-taker or you wouldn’t be the phenomenal published author that you are. So glad your Scott was willing to grab your hand and hop like mad with you – you guys are an awesome team.

    Best wishes in that lovely lovely new house!

  • Yea to growing a chutzpah!!
    Yea to getting out of the suburbs! It sucks when the place you live changes into something it was not when you moved there. Personally, I will live in the country or in the city, but not in between, where you have all the inconveniences of both and the advantages of neither.
    I am so jealous of your new writing room.
    It’s gonna be awesome.

  • I LOVE this house, and am seething with Decatur-jealous where I am stuck in Northern Suburbs due to Husband’s Job.

    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your beautiful new digs!

  • susan

    welcome (soon) to Decatur!

  • Two years ago, 1 year to the month after my divorce, I met a lovely sweet man who looked into my eyes all night long and LISTENED to the words I said. Two months later I moved to TN, followed my heart to him, enrolled my kids here. Never been happier. My KIDS have never been happier. My daughter went from not reading at grade level to Principal’s list of straight A’s and my son? The changes are too many to list, BUT I guarantee you this, I am the only mother in the world who came home from work last night to a freshly scrubbed fridge courtesy of their teenaged son!!!
    Happy Hopping!!!!!

  • Beautiful house! I hope you and your fam make a lovely home there!

    I am splitting my time between a Brooklyn apartment and a 3BR house in the Catskills. For a while our 1BR in Park Slope was seeming so claustrophobic that we were seriously thinking of moving upstate permanently, but after 14 years in a tiny 4th floor walkup in a fab neighborhood, we moved 1.5 miles east to Crown Heights to a huge 2BR+ apartment on Eastern Parkway, and given our NYC life a new lease, literally.

    All the best,


  • Lori B.

    Your mid-life crisis is gorgeous. I covet your floors, Heart-o-Pine being my absolute fave! As for knowing what other people should do with their lives, I like to say that I have the spiritual gift of discernment FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Need to know what to do with your life? Sit down right here beside me, and I’ll make you a list. But knowing what to do with my own life and problems? I got nothing.

    But just like Tenessa, two years ago I really, really felt God had called me to homeschool. Yes, me, the one whose children make her crazy at times and the one whose husband travels for weeks on end. Yep, the very one. And the last two years have been amazing, and wonderful, and maddening, and stressful, and a great big ball o’ crazy, but I wouldn’t change it for a thing. It is the exact right thing at the exact right time for my family. So screw the books all over the floor and the glue sticks stuck to the rug and the paint and glitter on the carpet. My kids are learning about God and the glory that is his creation, and the house that stepped out of Southern Living will just have to wait…

  • Tequila Cookie Chris

    Congrats! I run by that house on a regular basis and hope you will be very happy there (from what I know of the neighbors they are very nice, esp. when you fall and crack open a knee…).
    I firmly believe that there comes a time when the universe pushes one to just jump already – when the timing and plan are right. Enjoy the jump!

  • Kim

    What a fabulous house! It’s screaming out for a great family consisting of two parents, two kids, two dogs and a freaking Boggart cat. After reading this though, I’m very concerned at how many appliances I’ve shoved into cabinets then, like you, forgotten about them. Rather than go look, I think I will do a quick re-read of “Organizing for the Creative Mind,” that is, IF, I can locate my copy. Congratulations on the new HOME. 🙂

  • Reé

    Interesting that the graffiti doesn’t show up in the photographs, for this place has Joshilyn Jackson, The Writer written all OVER it.

  • Good for you! The house looks beautiful, and like you, I’m partial to the pine floors, the soft colors, and that killer desk.

    Yes, I left medicine when everyone thought I was nuts, but I knew it was the right choice for me and mine. No, I don’t regret it. I miss aspects of it, but I’m still looking for opportunities to replace them in my present-day life.

  • Katherine

    We took a leap 13 years ago when we moved here, away from a similar house in Baton Rouge, LA. Only it was even smaller of a house, but with similarly lovely floors. I miss the floors and high ceilings and neighbors, but I do not miss the office and kid bedrooms and guest room all being the same room! We leapt to where we are now with no job, but faith that we would find one. And it worked. So, yay, on your move. Good luck!

  • Lulu

    Love the new, clean, wide-open possibilities of that new house! Jealous of your de-cluttering event!

    We moved from California to Louisiana (easy) for husband’s job, then back to California (easy again) for husband’s job. But after 9 months of San Francisco Bay Area traffic and mega-metropolis crazy, I said, honey I love you, but I’m going to graduate school – in Idaho. 20+ years and we’re still up here. I love my job, love where we live, but the house, OMG, the 100-year-old house may collapse from all the magpie shards we’ve collected in our time here. Anybody want several metric tons of paper, paper crafting supplies, and booksbooksbooks?

  • Decatur welcomes you with open arms. Or I do. I promise if I see you at BabyKroger or Raging Burrito that I will not run to you and say “remember that time I had a drink with you once?” I will just kind of look sideways at you and be shy. Promise.

    My husband and I took a similar leap when we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia about 6 years ago. We had reasons but we had no ACTUAL reasons for moving here. We said we were going to do it, though, and suddenly all my stuff was in a moving van and my cats were crying in the back seat of our car and…Decatur. Voila! It’s a good thing! Congrats!

  • JulieB

    Congratulations! It is beautiful! I understand the freeing joy of getting rid of stuff. We have just about 1900 square feet, and still too much stuff, but it is better. And, we have a wonderful college town, with dynamic people and wonderful opportunities. The public transportation here is meh, but the rest is great.

    Twenty one years ago my boyfriend invited me to go along with him to France for a year. I said yes. A few weeks later, he asked me to marry him. We put a wedding together in 6 weeks, kissed the family goodbye and started our lives. Last fall, we took our kids back to Germany and France to see where it all started. It was a good leap, and I wish you, Scott, the kids and the mini farm the all the best. 🙂

  • erinanne

    I am trying to make a job change right now and this post has just made me cry with joy for you and frustration with myself at being unable to get my own change worked out.

    If you happen to find the stock of chutzpahs squeezed in next to the pink George Foreman wafflemakers, could you send it Snellville way?

  • erinanne

    The new house is gorgeous by the way. My own self pity in my first comment got in the way of me saying that. Funny how that works.

    I am in love with your purple shutters!

  • Catherine

    It’s an enchanting house! I’m so glad you’ll be writing a book in that office – so I can read it in mine! Yay, to being brave!

  • Lora in Florida

    14 years ago EXACTLY TODAY, we packed up my pregnant belly, and our 23 month old son, and left the fam in PA. We moved to good old Orlando FL, where my mom was convinced I’d have to give birth with the gators in the swamp. Luckily for me, they actually had hospitals down here in the South. Best thing I ever did.

  • Me?

    Well, I’m reducing my 4 bedroom house down to 2 suitcases and a carry on (which must hold cameras, computers and other niceties too precious or essential to trust to The Evil Airline Baggage Hurlers. Then I’m hopping on a train, then a ship, then another train and possibly another, maybe with a hotel in there somewhere if I decide so, and definitely with a bit of visiting of those family I particularly like in between some of the train-y/boat-y bits. And THEN, then after THAT I’m hopping on a BIG plane (actually 3 – thank you layovers!) and flying over a quite large ocean and landing in a totally new (and foreign) city where I will need to find a flat. All by myself. And after that?? I start graduate school.

    How d’you like THAT mid-life crisis?

  • Sara

    All I know is I’m going to come make you chicken and dumplings in that kitchen.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    My husband and I are both going to try to leap this next year. I want my MLIS. I tried to psych myself out and say, “What job will you get? Go for something better!” and tried on something else for size (not a master’s). It didn’t take, and now I’m looking forward thinking, “I want the MLIS. Why can’t I HAVE the MLIS?” and then trying to come up with good reasons I can’t do it. I’m trying not to leap for fear of … (what? I don’t know.)

    My husband has an MA in Literature but all he wants to do is write, write, write, write, write (short stories). He’s leaping and is going for an MFA at VCFA and hoping that it will open doors not only with his teaching career (that’s his other passion) but also with his writing. I support his passions with everything in me. I want him happy. (In reality, I want him happy more than I want me happy right now.)

    Maybe we both need to look at each other, grasp hands, and leap. Maybe we just need to leap.

    (Also, I in my apartment? I am in love with your kitchen. LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen! I want to walk in, spin circles with my arms wide out, and then bake a pie.)

  • I’ve done much hopping the past couple of years, though it took quite a long time and much prodding to get started. First, I hopped away from my dreadful marriage. I mean, it was bad, but better than being single ~ you know, until I considered his extra-marital dating life (which was QUITE prolific and impressive, really) ~ and he was a good dad (other than the whole terrible example and not a very good role model for three kids).

    THEN, I started graduate school because finally getting away from him made me realize I AM smart enough and good enough to get that degree.

    Now, I’m ready to stop hopping and settle down again, please. I’m exhausted! (Though if I had a lovely home like that to hop to, I might make one more small jump!)

  • Brigitte

    I stay under my rock where it’s nice and safe . .
    But that house is Utterly Gorgeous!!

    I’m with you on the STUFF, I’m glad our house is only 1450 square feet (though we do have a basement, unfinished). Otherwise, I’d hoard.

    I’m happy that it’s happening so quickly (though sadly, too quickly to give away some of your “good” stuff to US, hee hee).

  • I am finding myself suddenly in the position of needing to leap, and not knowing where. Perhaps the answer is simpler than I am making it, or more complicated than I think.

    Your house is beautiful; may it become the home it is meant to be 🙂

  • That house is beautiful. . .the kitchen alone is enough to make me swoon, but all the little touches–the “good bones” of it. . .THOSE are what make it sing. And I DO hope that you will go and find some “right-sized” lions to flank the entryway at the bottom of the stairs–or the top. You STILL NEED those lions. 🙂

  • Kimberly

    Welcome to my FAVORITE author to my FAVORITE hometown!

  • Aparatchick

    Change – easy to endorse, harder to do. 😉 Great post!

    Oh, and don’t give up about the Boggart – my parents once bought a house that came with a cat (Too old and cranky to move, they said. Ha! Old and cranky, sure, but we took him with us when we moved the next year – and he lived to be even older and crankier. We sure loved him.).

  • Well, you can’t write two books in the same place, so I knew you’d have to buy a new house eventually. 😉

  • Ahhh…. yes, there is a secrety-secret plan we have been holding off on for a long time, but now are taking Actual Steps to make happen. Soonish, even. It’s held so deep in our hearts that we’re not ready to make it public but oh, it feels good to know that it’s possible and that we’re moving steadily toward our goal. 🙂 And man, are there ever a lot of little bitty hops on the way to that one big leap!

  • Bewitching. That’s how I’m going to describe your new home. Because Catherine already used up my other favorite adjective. (enchanting…see a theme?) Those built-ins and floors are lovely, but I am filled with vile, ugly, most un-Jedi-like jealousy over that writing space. However, I soothe that greedy little monster in my head by reminding it how much we will both LOVE the books that will be written there.

    Me…I’ve hopped across country twice in 10 years, jetsamming lots of flotsam both times. (Feels goooood!) Both moves were gonzo crazy acts of idiocy mixed with a small dose chutzpah. Both moves turned out to be wonderful adventures and also the right thing to do…and both moves were soooooo MUCH easier than the leap I’m considering right now.

    Right now….after “investing” thousands of dollars in writing conferences and over 5 years schlepping the traditional submissions path…I think it’s time to face the facts. I either need to give up *shudders* or bite the bullet and self-publish (ARGH!) *shudders again and takes a big gulp of wine straight from the bottle* Everyone I know (and quite a few publishing professionals) are telling this is really my only choice…but I’m dragging my feet. Doing yet another re-write. Still wishing that perfect acquisitions editor will ride up to my front door astride a real Hoth Tauntaun and hand me that coveted contract. So NOT going to happen…with or without the Tauntaun.

  • Kim

    What a beautiful midlife crisis. 🙂 I love your new house, and I can’t wait to read what you write there.

    As for me, my midlife crisis was actually my ex-husband’s. lol. He upped and left me almost 2 years ago, which snowballed into single parenting, a move (complete with purging about 2/3 of my “stuff”), a new school district for my daughter, and basically a whole new life. (The only constants were my family, some friends, my dog and my job.)

    I was scared spitless at first. But it has actually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Really. I know who my friends are, I know I can count on my (smallish) family, and I’m finding my voice…my purpose. We married so young (21!) and I spent half my life in his shadow, living with his secrets and denying my own strength and self-worth.

    Nowadays, since I work without a net most of the time, I know that I am strong enough to handle whatever life throws at me.

    Midlife rocks. And I’m not even there. Since I’m planning to live to be 95, I still have a few years before I have my own midlife crisis. 🙂

  • ebethnyc

    Ah, change. It is quite difficult for us humans. The more something is repeated the deeper it is engrained in our brains. Litchrally. If it were easy, there would only be a handful of self-help books and not whole industries making gazillions of dollars off our insecurities and frustrations and seekingness.

    And for some of us, change is even harder than for others. Un/fortunately, it took me getting [breast] cancer to wake up and start living my life. (Fine, thanks. No need to worry.) It’s not a drastic, dramatic 180 degree change, but I’ve STARTed and for me that is the hardest part (the wai-ai-ting is the *second* hardest part, Tom Petty). In my case, it wasn’t even a sense of mortality per se (never once did I think I would die from this little medical blip), but that it was okay, it was NECESSARY to focus wholly on my self, my well-being. And now I am committed to that.

    But back to you, you are not only talented and smart and clever but brave and if, after seeing that kitchen, you didn’t take the house? then I would think you were crazy. Beautiful!! Kudos on the clean out, too, btw. No small feat, I know.

  • I LOVE your new house! It is so beautiful! You will be so happy there!

    I have hopped major hops, more than once, and it is so worth it. Sometimes a drastic change is just the thing to leave the yuck behind and reinvent yourself. And you get to take the very most important things with you! So you have nothing to fear, and much to look forward to. I’m very happy for you!

  • Laura Lippman

    I had such an ugly midlife crisis compared to yours and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, although mine led to unexpected places, literal and figurative. (Living part-time in New Orleans is one of the literal places.) But, in the rubble of the ugliness, I moved into what all my female friends called the Mary Tyler Moore apartment — her second, not the first. It was in a high-rise and it was the best of all possible worlds. Old charming Baltimore neighborhood, wood floors, upgraded kitchen, full-service building and SIX closets. In a one-bedroom apartment. Two walk-in closets in the bedroom alone. A coat closet, two hallway closets and a linen closet. By almost every measure, the real estate I now inhabit is a step up, but I still think about those closets.

    Decatur is cool. Heck, it has an Alsatian restaurant and that gorgeous, gorgeous library.

  • Loved this!!! Downsizing can be freedom.

    And… I happen to know the owners of this house. Great people. Great karma. Best of luck!

  • I used to “house-hop” quite a bit. My poor kids! All those new floor plans to learn. Strange how that affliction stopped after they grew up and moved on and out! Oops, sorry guys! So I can SO relate to your story. I’m in T-town. Not to far from you. Love your posts. And of course your books!

  • dramamama

    oh, i so needed to read this. i haven’t read this blog in a while, even tho i just finished grown up kinda pretty, and i said to myself, i need to start back reading the kudzu…..wow. just what i needed to read. so proud of you. such an inspiration…..

  • Sara

    JOSS. The office has GIRAFFE CARPET.

    It is meant to be.