It’s a perfect fall day. The sky is deep blue and the leaves are in full glorious color. I decided it was a good day to screw on my courage and take a walk in the old neighborhood.
I used to walk various routes through the neighborhood nearly every day when I lived there. But it has been fourteen years since I moved out of the house, and although it’s only about a mile from where I currently live, I have seldom dared go there.
I loved the house—it was an extensive renovation and rebuilding project that I designed and managed. When my divorce was finalized the house was sold and I had to leave. In past years, being in the neighborhood reminded me of what I lost and seeing the house made me cry. It was just another grief.
So today I parked several blocks away and started walking. Funny, I thought, I don’t remember the hills being so steep. I’m fourteen years older now—have I aged that much or did the hills grow? I walked past the house. It’s still beautiful and the landscaping has matured. It was okay—it didn’t occur to me to cry. I felt proud that I had created it, that a big part of me is in that house, whether I live there or not. The neighborhood streets were familiar and I took comfort in being there. It was almost triumphant. I've reclaimed that part of my life in a new way and I think I'll be walking through the neighborhood often from now on.