I spent the past weekend making a final sweep of my house. I emptied the last of my belongings, and with considerable help from my mom cleaned the floors, the counters, the window sills, all in preparation for the coming closing. By the end of the weekend I was tired, sad. As is usual for me I planned to pack way too many social and functional activities into far too little time. It didn’t help that my flight home was delayed and after working almost a week straight I was up for 23 hours before I finally made it to my parents’ house in Cazenovia. The following days were filled with work and fun, nonstop.
Finally, Saturday afternoon I found myself alone in my house. All of the projects complete, all of my belongings moved out, friends and family waiting for me other places. All I had to do was walk out the door.
But I couldn’t. I got ready to go and I froze. I was suddenly overwhelmingly aware that I would never be back. This haven, this home would be gone forever. So I did what I needed to do. I sat myself down in the middle of the empty living room, the bright sun shining through the stained glass, the yellow walls complementing the orange panes, and I cried. Not just a little, a lot. A good, hard, squishy faced, tears under my chin, cry. Then I picked myself up, I walked out the door, and I locked it. I got in my car, I backed out the driveway, and for the last time I drove away.
I planned to write a final post about this place. My house was on Eldorado Street and over the years it came to be referred to simply as Eldorado. I was going to write about this house and how it represented the legend of Eldorado; of true love and the Holy Grail, of heaven, happiness, and success. Then a funny thing happened. I got in the car the next day and came back to New York City. I came, back to my apartment, went back to work, and I realized that I am just as happy here. My friend Davia told me, mid melt down last weekend that one day NYC would feel as hard to leave as my house, but that day is already here.
So that’s the funny thing about the legend of Eldorado. It’s this elusive place we spend our whole lives looking for but may never find. It’s this place where wealth is acquired quickly, true love is waiting, success and happiness abound. According to Wikipedia, an ever reliable source, we may spend our whole lives looking, it may never be found, it may not even exist.
Yet I can’t help but wonder if Eldorado is anywhere you want it to be. I had an amazing house that I loved. It met so many of my needs at the time I was in it, I grew there, grew enough to leave there and come here, my next Eldorado, where even the rats dancing in the subway put a smile on my pathetic face.
Moving on from things is hard, letting go of old places, old relationships, old dreams. Often we cling so hard to those past things, to our unwillingness to let them go, our fear that nothing better will come along. In doing so, how often do we miss our next dream, our next place because our body is there but our eyes, our mind, our heart, and our wishes are stuck in the past.
I will always miss my house on Eldorado, the way the sun shines through the stained glass over the stairs in the entry way, the bright and happy living room where I strengthened relationships with friends, healed from surgeries, rewrote my resume constantly. I will miss my big kitchen; my friends sitting on stools while I cooked for them once they had all given up on offering help. I will miss Davia stopping by for five minutes and leaving two hours later after trying on all of the clothes in my closet and laying on my bed together giggling like little girls.
I will miss wine with Meghan, tea with Katie, lots of wine with Aubrey, all on that same couch. I will miss dinners on the deck under the candlelit umbrella. Hosting parties, my house filled with voices, laughter, and cocktails. I will miss my nine foot Christmas Tree at Christmas, lights on the deck. I will miss all of those people being minutes away.
But I closed the door, and I locked it. I left that place in the past and I moved on to this next one.
Are there any doors you need to lock and walk away? Is there a new Eldorado you are missing because you won’t let the old one go? If there is, I hope you get the courage to lock the door and move on. Better things are waiting, despite the pain it takes to walk away.
In the meantime, I am going for a walk in the park (Central Park), something my old Eldorado never offered.