Present Tense

It’s like gum on your shoe….

We’ve been in our new home in Michigan for about 6 weeks now and I love it. Love it.  Everything about it.

It’s weird because I dreaded leaving our house in Colorado.  I adored that house and even though I was ready to move to our new life, I was clinging to that house right up until the very last minute.  In fact, as I did my final walk-through, I sat down on the toilet in our master bath and bawled my eyes out.

Now that it’s in the rear view mirror, I have some thoughts on that whole clinging thing.  It’s a beautiful house.  We designed it from the ground up.  We made every decision right down to the drip edge and the door knobs.  It was mine.  It represented my success.  A beautiful custom-built, mountain home in a beautiful setting, close to a ski resort.  My American dream.  Hard to let go of that kind of symbol.

The funny thing is, I haven’t thought about that house once in the last 6 weeks.  Haven’t missed it for one second.  How can that be, when I was in such pain when I had to leave it?

Here’s what it teaches me:  letting go is the key to happiness.  Think of all of the stuff that we cling to; that we can’t imagine giving up or leaving or changing.  The stuff we hold onto is endless.  It’s hard to imagine a life without booze/job/lover/house/destructive and unhealthy habits/income/lifestyle/church/TV and the list goes on and on.

It’s like walking around with something clinging to the bottom of your shoe.  That irritating feeling when you get gum on your shoe and it sort of sticks with every other step.  You’re constantly looking down, scuffing along, trying to get that goddamned gum OFF YOUR SHOE.  That’s how clinging feels.  Distracting, annoying, nagging, sticky.

Make the change, walk away, scrape that shit off your shoe and guess what?  Life goes on. Every time I’ve made a major change in my life, it was scary and overwhelming and produced “what the hell am I thinking” nightmares, but it’s always turned out fine.  No, it’s turned out great.  I’ve grown and learned and adapted and morphed and evolved.  And I always ask myself, “What took so long?”.

Change isn’t all that scary.  It’s the thought and the planning and the worrying about change that creeps us out.  Think about something that you knew you COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT and now you do.  It could be a person or a material possession or a home or a job or an addiction.  You can live without it.  In fact, you will thrive.  You will grow.

If you’re in a situation where you’re squatting between what is and what will be, project 6 months forward and envision your life.  You’ll see that all of this is behind you and you’re in your new place on your new path.  Feel good?

It is good. You’ll love it. Change isn’t scary.  Change is life.


August 14, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jane. I’ve listened to you and Dom since your first day on the Mix. And now I’m also an avid follower of your blog. This particular topic really hit home with me. I cried and cried the day I put my townhouse on the market last year. It represented so much about my independence, my successes and even failures. It was hard to let it all go. It’s funny how we latch onto physical things in this lifetime and attach so much emotion. I can already feel the gum letting go of the bottom of my shoe!

    Comment by Jeanne Ramsay | August 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Jeanne,
      Thanks so much for the note. Glad you read the post.

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  2. Very well said. I’m happy YOU are happy in your beautiful new environment!!!

    Comment by Marsha | August 14, 2013 | Reply

  3. I’m so happy that you are adjusting so well to your new “home”. When change is hard for people and they push through that, and can embrace their new circumstances, that is to be celebrated. I suspect there will be times in the future that you will also embrace the past and the home that you designed and made your own and think about it as something you miss from a “leaving it” point of view -even more than you do now. As in a few melancholy moments! Not now though – New things and places are always front and center, but there will be times of reflection, but not regret. Embrace the memories, which no one can take away, and enjoy your new life! Maybe you can soon sleep when the sun is still there! Good luck with that – and eastern time zone!

    Comment by Sherry | August 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Sherry,
      I am not really much of a ‘past embracer’…honestly. I’ve always been able to move on with no regrets. I do have fond memories of the various places we’ve lived, but I look at it as that particular time and place in my life. It’s almost like we live in chapters.
      Thanks for the note. Glad you took the time to comment.

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  4. Thanks. You have great timing. I’ve been fretting over a change I need to make. “Take a deep breath and step forward.”

    Comment by Teresa Gatton | August 14, 2013 | Reply

  5. Awesome blog Jane!! So true even every time i have changed salons as scary as it is it has always worked out. Now i need to do that with this house!!

    Comment by marge beem | August 14, 2013 | Reply

  6. Hi Jane. I left my home where I brought up my kids and downsized to a lovely townhome. I laughed when I read this column because I did the same thing. I cried as I was leaving and then I have not thought about it since. We are so flexible and adaptable and I agree that the scary thing about change is thinking about it before it happens.

    Then the change happens and it seems like I look back and say `so what was all the fuss about.` Thanks for this.

    Comment by Kelly @Try New Things | August 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Kelly:
      Once I broke down and cried as I left the old house, I really felt cleansed. It was more about relief and a physical “letting go”, I think, than sorrow.
      Glad you commented.

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  7. Could not have been more apropos from the summer of changes that I’ve had! It is so true that we believe having all these routines/schedules/rituals/pocessions etc will make and keep us happy- so untrue! We are already feeling the freedoms of being without burdens and constraints and feeling very hopeful of what’s to come! Thank you for writing this …well done!

    Comment by Melissa | August 14, 2013 | Reply

  8. Just what I needed to hear right now!
    I’m Thrilled for you guys that you’re able to live your dream and are happy there!! If you start missing the sun in CO during those long winters in MI feel free to come visit! As long as we’re in this house we have plenty of room. Your blog is amazing! I’ve been dreading the thought of downsizing, but I know it’s the right thing to do. I agree the anticipation of it is the worst! Soo hard to give up my greatest accomplishment: designing and being the GC of my oak log dream home. Your thoughts will really help in this process of letting go though. Changing career (hopefully real estate now) and home. Fingers are crossed…

    Wishing you the very best of luck in your new adventure!!
    Nancy Jo

    Comment by Nancy Jo O'Malley | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Nancy Jo
      Thanks! It’s just a house….:) Good luck. Baby steps, right?

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  9. This helps me a lot. I’m seeing for the first time, that that gum on my shoe needs to be scuffed off. I’ve been wanting to venture out alone (away from my home of 40 years here in Denver) to Arizona for years. 8 to be exact. I cringe at the thought of enduring another winter. I think I have the guts to at least start my job search there, now that I’ve read your blog. This blog became that sign. That sign I’ve been praying about, the one I needed from Him to just go for it. What am I so scared of too? I can do anything there that I’ve done here. I’m single so, big deal, find an apartment, furnish it, venture and make new friends. Facetime my family and facebook my friends. Make new ones there and finally accomplish what I’ve been dreaming about for frickin’ years! Thanks Jane. I’m gonna just shut up and do this thing. :

    Comment by Theresa | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Go get ’em!!! Good luck:)

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  10. LOL! You are such a beautiful and refreshing woman,Jane. I always look forward to what you will write about next! Your perspective on life and living are fantastic and you pretty much hit “it” every time. Best of luck to you on your lifes adventures, I can’t wait to see where you take us next!

    Comment by paula g | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Paula
      Thanks for the nice comment. Makes me feel good:) Glad you took the time to read the post and send a note!

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  11. Hi,

    I love change, even though like you I have cried through those changes. Love your blog!

    Comment by Colleen | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  12. The changes we experience between the endings and beginnings of life is insightfully described in the book Transitions by William Bridges. It helped me understand a great deal about myself. Jane, I really enjoy your posts. Thank you.

    Comment by Donna Bauer | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Donna:
      Thanks for the note. I read a book by Richard Rohr called “Falling Upward” that I thought was really good. In fact, I think I wrote a post about it! It’s about the two halves of our lives. The first is where we build our ‘container’ and the second is when we fill it up. That book was a huge influence.

      Comment by janelondon | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  13. Hi Jane,

    Wow, it’s crazy how sometimes you “need” to receive a message and then POOF! There it is! Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights – my husband and I would REALLY like to move to a new, warmer location but we too have been overly attached to our home in Colorado. I think because we’ve spent 7 years remodeling it to make it ‘ours’, doing most of the labor ourselves that we’ve allowed too much emotion to become associated with it. Reading your post made us realize that it’s just plain silly and may just give us the push of courage we need to make the leap.

    I’m a Michigan native too! So thrilled to hear that you are loving your new homelife there! Adore your blog!

    Comment by Shari B. (FitFeat) | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  14. You rock, Jane! When we going to see you guys next?!?

    Comment by Brandon G. | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  15. I just left that thing that I thought I could not live without 8 hours away a grad school in St. Louis. Funny, her mother and I were there with her for three days, helping her move in, getting to know the area, etc. Then, at an Applebee’s near Compton heights, Erin began to talk. She stated that she just knows that she is going to do great things. That she knows exactly what she wants to do and how she is going to do it. Suddenly the eight hour ride back did not seem so daunting for us. We had let her go, and she had taken that risk to change and do what she really wants to do. I realized that we had helped her get there, and let her go to what she felt strongly about. Do you know what? That eight hours wasn’t so bad after all. Thanks Jane.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  16. Hi Jane – Your recent blog couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My family just recently moved from Highlands Ranch to Boston for a new job opportunity for me. My husband is still searching for a job and without his income things are pretty tight in a very expens!ive city and state. I keep thinking, as recently as this evening, why did we do this move? But you summed it when you said: letting go is the key to happiness. As a native of CO, I’m having trouble letting go. This change has been scary and overwhelming but I need to walk away, accept the change, and scrape this shit off my shoes and embrace our new life and the happiness that awaits us all.
    Thanks Jane!
    Lisa F.

    Comment by Lisa Flanigan | August 15, 2013 | Reply

  17. Your message is so timely. Letting go of the shit on my shoes. Perfect!

    Comment by Cindy | August 20, 2013 | Reply

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