I considered yesterday's “announcement” that I've decided to move to Portland, Oregon, to be a personal indulgence, not something that really belongs on this blog about aging. But I'd been busy thinking through some of the details of selling and buying and all, and by Sunday evening I had not written another post for Monday.
And look what happened – wow! I had no idea so many of you would have so much to say about it. I'm taking seriously all your various kinds of advice, and I thank all of you for your good wishes on this project.
As any of you who have moved in your life know, it is important to run the numbers, accounting for fees, expenses, commissions, taxes, etc. to arrive at the smallest offer you can or are willing to accept in a sale to net what you need for your move and new purchase. What are the moving costs? What costs are attached to buying in the new city? How much new home can you afford? How much fudge room is there? Ship the car, sell it or drive? Not to mention the timing so you're not homeless for too long.
All that kind of stuff makes me grind my teeth, so I took a lot of breaks from the calculator yesterday to think about the idea of home and how we find it.
Ben Franklin said, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” A couple of thousand years earlier, Cicero put it more simply: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” There is also Robert Frost's well-known dictum: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” but you can't count on it.
Even after her adventures in Oz, the feeling of home was easy for Dorothy: Kansas.
It's easy for me too: Greenwich Village is in my bones as deeply as if I'd been born there. I've made peace with leaving, but not easily and I don't have much chance of finding a pair of ruby slippers to take me back.
On the other hand, I love this apartment in Portland, Maine. I have been more comfortable in this physical space than anywhere else. It suits me and that may have something to do with why it took so long to decide to leave. I wish I could wave my magic wand and take the apartment with me to Oregon.
(A lot of wishing going on here...)
A number of people yesterday agreed with the comment left by Marian Van Eyk McCain (elderwomanblog) about my decision to move:
“The image I've had ever since I met you, Ronni, is that you dug yourself out of the soil of NYC and carried yourself to Maine in a pot, intending to re-plant yourself, but that your roots are still in the pot.”
It makes me laugh to picture myself hauling around a miniature Ronni potted up like a geranium. Marian proves a point I've often made to new bloggers: over time, there is no way you can present yourself as anything other than what you are; whatever that is, it will always come through your words. Apparently you, readers, knew Portland, Maine might not be my final resting place before I did.
Probably the best quote about home is one of the simplest: Home is where the heart is. My heart will always be partly in Greenwich Village, but it lives in Oregon too. And not in Maine. It's a nice enough place, but it doesn't feel like home even after nearly four years.
So tell us today what home is to you - and where.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Shirley Karnes: Humpty Dumpty