Leaving St. Charles, Missouri … How We Did It!

February 13, 2018

“Don’t be too afraid to encounter risks. It’s by taking chances that we learn how to be brave” – Author Unknown

We started making serious plans about 3 years before we left our community and home of 24 years.  If we really intended to both retire and really start a new lifestyle, what would it take?  We would have to do a LOT of house and property renovation (mostly John and professionals).  And, concurrently, we would be making a LOT of decisions about a lifetime of possessions (mostly Jane and no professionals).  I did greatly appreciate the written inspiration and guidance of Marie Kondo, the Japanese tidying up guru (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I found that I did indeed have to hold EVERYTHING in my cluttered little world and make that now famous Kondo decision: Does it spark joy?

In addition to doing these things we’d never much done before, we each had other big responsibilities. John was still running his business, I had family duties. Together, we also had plenty of joyful times we didn’t want to miss either.

Fast forward several years and the crunch is on…

But first, back to possessions: the oversized garage and attic; the big shed; the large house with furniture in every room; every single cabinet, drawer, closet; every nook and cranny I’d forgotten;   jewelry boxes; too many darned clothes; one car to be sold after emptying full glove boxes and trunk; the truck to be kept, but its full glove boxes and bed had to be decluttered. EVERYTHING had to be decluttered…had these things ever sparked joy for either of us? Yes, they had, but not for our new lifestyle goal.

The house and property renovations were finished just before Thanksgiving. I still had not fully completed my decluttering duties, but we and our agent Mark thought it probably wouldn’t sell until the spring. So, not the ideal time to sell, but the weather was good, the housing market was busy, and ok, let’s just do it. It went on the market Thanksgiving Day.

I fully expected someone (as I had) would fall in love with the architecture, the wood inside and out, the generous property, and…a terrific couple did! What I didn’t expect was it would happen in just 4 days.

NOW, I had 30 days to complete my part of this plan.  WILL THIS EVER BE FINISHED? I AM SO TIRED, I AM SO CONFUSED.  Stay with me, Marie…

Does any of this sound familiar? We Americans love our stuff. But back to crunch time. Things still had to go. Thanks to Good Will, Adam’s Auction, Republic Trash, Merry Go Round Resale, our buyers, our buyers’ agent, friends, family, CubeSmart Storage (long-term, and also a short-term unit for RV/boat necessities), YES, it did get finished – about one hour before we left for closing. NOT KIDDING!

On January 2, 2018 we picked up our brand-new RV and had 3 hours of training – not enough we now know – and off we went. It was frigid and so windy. We stayed in a hotel while our new home (which remained winterized until we found above-freezing temps) stayed in a nearby St. Charles RV park. We got busy clearing out the short-term storage unit, stocking the RV with what we thought we would need. Remember your first apartment? It’s hard to really figure out what’s needed right away.

A week later we kissed our son and family goodbye. We would see them, hopefully, in Jupiter, Florida for Cardinals spring training games. That plan helped ease our goodbyes.

We hooked up, carefully checking everything maybe five times, and headed out. We headed straight south for Gulf Shores, Alabama. How would the truck pull? How would everything ride inside the RV? Where would we be able to stop for lunch (trailer plus truck equals almost fifty feet long)?

So many questions, so many fears. It’s been said that a new life begins on the edge of your comfort zone. The future lay before us now as we view the edge of our comfort zones in the rear view mirror.