Happy New Year, everyone!
It's just over an hour into the new year and already I feel better.
2009 wasn't an easy year. For us it was mostly defined by losing our house and declaring bankruptcy.... and the subsequent readjustment to a new life. And though that was overwhelmingly challenging, the truth is that it wasn't all bad.
Here are some of the highlights:
We broke our attachment to material possessions
We grew closer as a couple
We were gifted with a beautiful home for two years on an island in the Pacific Northwest
I finished writing a new full-length play
We discovered the depths of our resilience
We saw parts of this country we'd never seen before
We reconnected with old friends and made some new friends too
But the biggest thing to impact my life in 2009 was this blog. I began writing it in 2009. January 9, 2009 to be exact. Here is that first post.
Writing this blog has truly made an enormous impact on my life. As a result, I feel like I have grown as a writer. I've met amazing people through the blog and was able to process some pretty crazy emotions and experiences. As a writer, it is through writing that I grow as a person. It is because of the blog that we have this place to live and that I have more confidence in myself as a writer than ever before.
It's been such a journey. When I began writing it, I had no expectation of anyone reading it outside of my family and friends. I thought perhaps it could help others going through the same thing, but wasn't sure that it would actually reach anyone. My only goal was to write as openly and honestly as possible about our situation.
I'm so grateful to each and every one of you for reading, sharing and commenting on this blog. You've given me strength and self-assurance. I've loved corresponding with readers who write in for advice or just to share that you might be going through the same thing. Thank you for your advice and your support. Thank you for letting me know when it has made a difference for you. Being able to make a difference has been the biggest gift of Love in the Time of Foreclosure.
My realization & the big announcement
Last summer when we closed on the sale of our house, a LITTOF reader joked about what we would call the blog now that we avoided foreclosure. At that point it was obvious to me that I would continue writing, though as our story wasn't over yet and I saw the title of the blog to contain a larger context. Love in the Time of Foreclosure applied not only to our personal story but to the story that Americans were facing throughout the country. This being "the time of foreclosure."
But that comment has been stuck in my head lately. We personally did avoid foreclosure. We are no longer in foreclosure. That story is over. And I don't want to keep living it over and over and over again.
You might have noticed that my blog posts have been fewer and farther between of late. Some of that has to do with the month of December. I was largely unmotivated to do anything. But I had a lot of resistance towards blogging and I wasn't sure why. Until I realized that I'm just ready to move on.
I'm ready for the next chapter. The one that doesn't include foreclosure. By continuing Love in the Time of Foreclosure, I feel like I'm continuing to live back in that time. That very challenging time. And I'm ready to let it go.
What am I saying?
I'm saying this: My first post of 2010 is also my last. At least here.
This blog on ChicagoNow will remain in the archives so that old posts can be accessed, but I won't be writing new posts.
What?! Yep. It's true.
I will be keeping the original blogspot site active. It is there that I will post any news updates and possibly occasional articles while I figure out what is next.
Because it's time. It's a new year. A new decade. And I'm ready to let go. I don't want my life to be forever tied to our foreclosure story. It's just time for me to move on. For us to move on. The foreclosure isn't our entire story... only a small part.
In the spirit of full disclosure and 'telling one on myself', the writer in me has loved having a steady audience and readership for the first time in my life. That has, frankly, made it hard to objectively assess my commitment to the blog. I haven't wanted to let go for fear that I would somehow disappear. That my success as a writer is tied to this blog and this blog alone. As a result I've been clinging to the blog like a security blanket. And that just doesn't work for me.
Last summer we had to let go of our house and most of our possessions. Now it's time to let go of the blog. In order to clear the way for what's next.
And what is next?
Well, I'm not sure yet. I'm still designing 2010. What I know for sure is that 2010 will be amazing. Today we went bowling. I didn't break 100 on the first two games. I flipped a switch in the third. And I stepped up to the line and said, "I'm gonna bowl a strike now." I was completely sure of that. And I did. I bowled a strike. You gotta get, I hadn't bowled one strike in twenty-four frames. And then, just like that I did. That's how 2010 is going to be. Like stepping up to bowling a strike and actually bowling a strike. It's going to kick 2009's ass! I'm sure of it.
This post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging you. Here goes. I'm grateful...
-I'm grateful to ChicagoNow for including Love in the Time of Foreclosure on their site and for welcoming me into the family. I'm grateful to my friend Eileen for suggesting LITTOF to ChicagoNow in the first place.
-I'm grateful to Bob for being my editor and reading almost every post before it went live.
-I'm grateful to my mom for agreeing to write articles on the blog as The Real Estate Mom.
-I'm grateful to the community of LITTOF readers. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share our story and for the fact that it has made a difference for some people out there.
-I'm grateful to Ron on Orcas and Joy on San Juan Island for welcoming us so kindly to the San Juan Islands and for always looking out for us! Thanks for the lamp and the coffee, Joy. And thanks for helping us with the table, Ron!
-I'm grateful to LITTOF reader Judith @theluxpod for sending us yummy chocolate from London and having to disguise the package as "used socks."
-I'm grateful to LITTOF reader Jennifer @loonyladybug for sending us an awesome road trip CD.
-I'm grateful to the owners of this house (!!) who reached out to us and offered us a place to live. You guys have shown us such generosity and trust that we are overwhelmed at times.
-I'm grateful to friend and talented playwright/screenwriter Jennifer Maisel @jennifermaisel for naming the blog. Yep, she's the brains behind the name. It began with the less creative name of simply Steph and Bob. So, thank you Jennifer! For that (and more.)
-I'm grateful to Greg Pincus @gregpincus for his invaluable mentoring!
-I'm grateful to everyone who shared the blog. To everyone who commented and took an interest in our story.
-I'm grateful to so many of you who told me you sent our blog to Oprah or NPR or NBC because you thought it was a great story that should be seen on a wider scale. Your faith in us always made a difference.
-I'm grateful to those of you who said that this should be a book! Or a movie! Maybe one day it will.
-Oh- I'm grateful to Apartment Therapy and CurbedLA for posting about our huge estate sale because I think that really helped spread the word. (Man, that feels like soooo long ago.)
-I'm grateful to the LITTOF reader who bought our white dishes in L.A. (I hope you're enjoying them.)
-I'm grateful to The Story for having us on. That was a lot of fun and really therapeutic, actually.
-I'm grateful to my amazing family and wonderful friends who never once told me I was insane to be sharing so frankly in such a public forum.
This is starting to feel like an Oscar acceptance speech. This is where I look quickly at the monitor and say, "It's saying wrap it up. Uh, um... uh....I'm just so grateful. Thank you."
So that's it. It's been fun.
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Thank you. For more than you'll know.
And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!