The tiny room that moulded my future, or “Saying goodbye to my old home office”

October 17, 2013

So, we moved last week. It was crazy. And fun! And crazy. And long. But fun!

Due to an unfortunate glitch in customer service, we didn’t have an internet connection at the new house for 5 days. Or a functioning television. Our withdrawal symptoms were not pretty.

But our internet provider problems aren’t what I wanted to share. (coughAT&T stinkscough)

I’ve been thinking the last few weeks, as we boxed up our entire household and then moved it across town, about all of the business-related milestones that took place within its walls.

A lot happened during the six and a half years that we lived in that house, both business-related and personal. We moved in as boyfriend and girlfriend, adopted a canine baby, got engaged in the living room, opened our wedding presents in the same spot, brought home our first child, and found out we were expecting our second. We updated just about every surface in the entire place, including many behind-the-scenes surfaces, and poured our heart and soul and pocketbooks into making it a comfortable, modern, cozy space that was updated yet still true to its 1930’s born-on date. We loved that house. Personally and emotionally, it meant so much to us.

I thought I would be sad about leaving the house that became our family home, where him and I became we and where we became three. I thought I would be sad about leaving the beautiful built-ins that Hubz built for Addy. I thought I would be sad about leaving the neighbors and the large, tree-lined street and the core-of-the-city location.

I didn’t expect at all to be thinking about the tiny corner room that was our office for the majority of our time there.

A lot happened in that house in general, but a lot happened in that office, too.

(My desk wasn’t always, umm, neat and tidy.)

We set up multiple dream boards and inspiration boards above the desk. We wrote and re-wrote and calculated and re-calculated our goals on the giant whiteboard against the back wall. After working a full day at my corporate job, I would sit at the desk late into the evenings, Hubz long-since gone to bed, working on my Vemma business, social media, and blog posts, dreaming about the day that I would be free to do such things at 8am, or 1pm, or any time of the day I chose.

When we realized that all of our Before Annie Retires goals had been met, and therefore we would be comfortable with me putting in my two weeks anytime, we were sitting in the living room. (I wish I had a photo of the joy/fear that was on my face at that moment.) However, I remember walking into the office shortly thereafter and standing in the middle of the tiny room, staring at the bookshelves. It was like I was in a daze of what we had just accomplished, fascinated and scared about what was ahead, and I had to surround myself with the contents of that room in order to get through the moment.

Once I retired, I embraced that office with gusto. In the mornings I would set up my water bottle, coffee, cell phone, cell charger, laptop, notepad, pen, and sweater for when I would inevitably get cold, and I would get excited about the possibilities of the freedom of camping out in there all day, working on whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Months later, deep into the spiral of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, now that I had the ability to do so, I sometimes resented that space. Walking in there would make the butterflies rise in my chest and trigger a deep breath or two, the only auto response I knew at the time to make myself temporarily feel better.

(Because I often *did* feel delusional. Art from cartoonist and author Hugh MacLeod.)

Soon, after finally placing a finger on my enjoyment of writing, and the importance of continuing to build Vemma in order to help others make the same types of realizations, that office became a part of me. Comfortable, expected, and my home base during the day. I had a newfound vigor for accomplishing big things, big goals, big dreams. Walking in there, I had the same feelings I used to have back when I was still in the corporate world and dreaming about my someday future. I would get excited about the possibilities of the work I could accomplish at that desk. I would dream up silly scenarios about how I would tell my grandchildren about sitting in that chair and writing the bestseller that paid for their college education. I would stare at the business, personal development, and non-fiction books on the shelves and remember reading them, remember the tiny shifts they made, remember the impact they had. I would stare at those books and want to talk about them, with anybody, with somebody.

I had good days in that office, when the self-motivation and discipline was high, and the productivity soared. I had bad days in that office, when the deep realization that anything that was meant to be was completely and solely up to me, and no one would notice or care if I did or didn’t do it, overwhelmed me. It would freeze me like a block of ice, leaving me unable to type a word or make one call or think anything coherently. It was in that office that the realization hit me (or was sent to me, you decide) that hey, maybe I should actually do something about this anxiety you have rocking through your system. Like, figure out what you want to do with your life. Or, you know, go see a therapist or get a message or accupuncture or something. (I chose accupuncture, by the way, with brilliant results. But that’s another story for another time.)

The office in our old house was a cozy 10 feet by 10 feet, at the most. It overlooked the back yard and was in the very southwest corner of the house. It held our books, desk, and dreams for a long time.

I’m ready to move on – we’re embracing this next chapter with open arms – but I’m going to miss it. In a business, and arguably a personal and spiritual and emotional sense too, I became who I am today in that space. I struggled and triumped in that space. I grew up in that space.

I’m going to miss it.

The joys of moving. :)


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