I woke Tuesday with a sense of urgency. I had to visit our storage locker.
Three years ago, my husband and I packed up our house, moved it to Cleveland, and stowed it away. We showed up at my parents' doorstep with two kids, two toy boxes, and five wardrobes. We never looked back, mostly because it was just too painful.
So why did I feel this intense need to revisit an old life? I'd moved on from it and settled into a new reality. I rarely thought about the contents of my locker, except when the children complained about the wagon or train table, two items I'm constantly reminded I shouldn't have stored.
Without knowing the answer, I grabbed the key to the locker and made the trip across town to our storage facility. After arriving, I stood outside our locker, my hands trembling, my heart leaping up and down. I fidgeted with the key, and only when I calmed myself did I realize they key did not fit in the lock.
How ironic. The key to my old life was missing. What did this mean? I stood there, a steel door between me and all my belongings. I turned the key over in my hand. It was too big. Wast that it? Our life had been too big. It became unwieldy. Since the crisis, we'd embraced simplicity. We'd welcomed less. We'd learned to do small. Was I experiencing a validation of this?
I walked down the aisles in the facility as I turned these ideas over in my mind. The air was stagnant. No one was there but me. My heels clicked loudly, the sound bouncing off the lockers.
Today I returned with a different key. I'd taken a picture of the lock and I was certain this key would work. I again entered the facility and walked the aisles alone. Again, I stood in front of our locker. Again, my body responded with trembles and flutters. But this time the key slid expertly in the lock and released it. I quickly removed the lock and pressed the door up.
There it was, piled top to bottom. A sideboard, a dumbbell, a ladder, a bunch of boxes. I couldn't really tell what any of it was. But it was there. I breathed a sigh of relief, and at that moment, I realized why I was there. I needed to remind myself that this life existed, and it could be had once again.
Rebuilding our lives is taking years longer than we anticipated, but it will happen. We will not live with my mother until we, too, require senior care. I will sleep in my beautiful queen sized sleigh bed again. And I will rest a teacup on my antique sideboard.
Because losing a job and a house may set you back, but it will not hold you back from achieving your dreams. Ever.