The final piece of paper left my hand. My signature in place. The condo was sold. It was on the market over two years. We got beaten on price and concessions. I played this hand poorly. We did not win this battle.
I bought the condo for the wrong reasons. It was what I thought I was supposed to do. I bought into the dogma that renting is bad, owning is good. Owning would make me an adult, I thought. I bought.
My decade of ambition had begun. The ambition was to be good enough. My sense of not being good enough drove my decisions. I drank more. I womanized more (or I tried to … I’m a comically bad womanizer). I spent more. I did more. I tried to fill the hole. And through it all, I became less. I did not win this battle.
I processed the emotions. This was bittersweet. It was closing day morning. I reflected on the mistakes. The bad decisions. The greed that led me to ask for more than I should. The procrastination that led to me taking a few too many months to get on the market. I could have been humble. Asking a low but fair price. I could have been quicker. Getting listed 3 months earlier. Two years on the market might have been 2 months. I didn’t. I was angry with myself for screwing this up. Another battle lost.
I drove with Jen from the title company. Papers signed. Waiting on final word on funding. I wanted something celebratory. I pulled into a Chick-Fil-A. I ordered a chicken biscuit sandwich. I could taste the butter and honey. The sweetness to wash away the bitter. Breakfast ended 10 minutes before. I left. I went to McDonald’s. Breakfast was over. I was twisted. Even with a breakfast sandwich celebration, my timing was off. I couldn’t get what I wanted. A smaller battle, an emblem of loss.
The phone rang at 11:52 am. The voice on the line said, “It funded. Everything’s complete.” A world of anxieties and regrets exited my body like thousands of possessed pigs running off a cliff.
Jen and I would be freed from the bondage of carrying this condo. We would not have to worry about payments, tenants, HOA dues or assessments. Our babies don’t have parents who are worried about this lingering mistake from the past. The reminder of bad decisions that came each time we wrote a check for the mortgage or HOA dues is gone. The escape hatch from my life before marriage closed. I can move on.
The outcome wasn’t what I wanted. But it was an outcome. It’s complete.
A room in my heart, mind and soul has been cleaned out and swept. A huge space has been freed for me to fill with joyful successes and exciting mistakes yet to come. I am free to move forward. I am free to live as the man I am today, and the man I have yet to become. The man who I was can be a memory in storage instead of a dead man walking. I am little more reborn. Each sighing breath of relief cleansing me and freeing me. I can start something new. I am free to move ahead.
Letting go of the condo mistake, I make room for new ones. I will screw things up in life, marriage and parenthood. It’s not an if. It’s a when. I cut free from this anchor from my past. I am free to move into my future. And the future of my family. If I hold on to the anchor of the mistake, I’ll drown. That’s not an option for me. I might choke on some water. But I’m not drowning.
I’ve lost many battles. I’m fighting on. I’m winning the war.