The view was amazing. From the seventh floor balcony, I could see the Toronto islands, the Gardner Expressway, the Ferris wheel of the Canadian National Exhibition and all of the concerts and sports events at Lamport Stadium across the street for free.
The price was right too. With an ensuite washer and dryer, dishwasher and all the usual amenities of a new condo (gym, party room, concierge), I would be paying the same as I was for my current apartment with none of those perks and a view of crazy people yelling at themselves on the street below.
Yet, something stopped me.
Sometimes the first step to finding out who you are now is discovering who you are no longer.
Two years ago, this living space would have been my dream. I am (or so I thought) a city girl. Even before Sex and the City, I’d fantasized about a life as a journalist where I reported on fashion shows, gallery openings and charitable events all while hanging out with my equally successful girlfriends, wearing fabulous shoes (that magically never blistered or hurt my feet), and getting hit on by ridiculously handsome men.
Taking in the view of the harbour from that balcony, however, I wanted nothing more than to hop on one of those jets taxiing down the runway at Billy Bishop Airport and go somewhere quieter, somewhere with more fresh air, somewhere a little less, well, busy.
And it shocked me.
Nothing like looking for a new home to thrust a single 40-something-year old into a midlife crisis.
Assuming I live to 89, I am halfway through my life, and once again facing crossroads. My old life, the one I had with my ex-husband, has almost completely slipped away. My new life has yet to fully take root.
Leaving the condo of my dreams, It was suddenly clear that I was not who I thought I was. What was far less obvious is who had taken her place.
“Who am I?”
The question repeated itself over the next few weeks while I looked at other housing options. Gradually, the outline of a new vision started to emerge.
Instead of small talk with 200 strangers at trendy events. I want quality conversations over dinner with a few close friends.
Instead of dating a million guys and going out every night, I want to spend some quality time with myself, punctuated by occasional spicey nights with a few select friends with benefits.
And, instead of living sandwiched between strangers in a downtown highrise, I want a house somewhere that is quieter, smaller and closer to nature: somewhere with breathing room.
But I’m not there yet.
Home is more than our physical surroundings. It is the keeper of our dreams.
This month, I’ll be moving to an apartment on the second floor of an older house in a quiet residential neighbourhood.
It has neither a dishwasher nor a concierge but it does have a tiny park two doors down with six trees and is a short jaunt from the beach.
My new home is a place where I can slow down, simplify my life and focus on building and deepening my connections with my friends, my faith and myself.
It might not be the house of my dreams, but it is a place where I can do the work that will help bring those dreams to fruition.
I may not face the CNE or a stadium, and the view from here may still be a little foggy but what I’m just starting to make out in the distance? It’s amazing.