Have you ever gone back to look at an old home you once lived in and have fond memories of? Maybe a childhood home? Or a home you built your own family around? I recently did that at 3225 Nealon Drive, Falls Church, VA, which was the address of the first and only home so far that I’ve ever purchased in this life, and it was most definitely an emotional event for me, one that initially brought me regret.
On a recent trip to Northern Virginia, I opted to head over to my old neighborhood where the home I once owned and place so much TLC into still stood. The last time I had visited the property was the summer of 2011 and much of what I had beautified the place with continued to flourish. The serene backyard and gardens were still there just like the day I had left them behind, which brought me great happiness. But, when I pulled up to the front of the same home just over a week ago now, 10 years later almost to the day, everything I had put into it was now gone. The crape myrtle I had planted in the front, the lush green backyard, the gardens around the front and side, and the Japanese maple that I had received as a gift for my 30th birthday, were now all gone. Even the huge deck I had built in the back to overlook the creek that lay beyond was now converted into this strange makeshift sunroom. All of this brought me great sadness. Sadness because none of the love I had put into improving the home and property remained there anymore. Essentially all of me was now gone from there. As I stood there and stared at the property, even talking to one the new owners who really loved the place, I found myself experiencing regret. Regret for what the place was now worth and regret for how none of what I had given to it from my heart and soul remained. For a while after leaving, I allowed that regret to consume me.
I couldn’t believe the place was now worth well over $600K, which incidentally, was not from any improvements made to it. It’s only because of its location being inside the beltway and so close to Washington, DC, as well as a Metro transit stop. And while I had sold it for a profit back in 2003, sadly, I lost it all in a business that eventually went belly up, that I only bought into because I codependently had been trying to save a relationship back then. And then thinking about all those improvements I had made both inside and outside now being completely gone, it was just too much for my mind and ego to comprehend.
To get over that regret, it took me remembering that quite a few good things came into my life only because I had sold that home and moved on. Good things like meeting my friend Steve Furness on the island where that business was, who was the sole reason why I eventually became a writer, as he worked for two local newspapers and helped me to become a columnist for them. Good things like developing a close friendship with Christy Lynn, a person I only met because she worked for our business and helped to manage it. And then I can’t forget that my entire life in Massachusetts only arose when my life on that island ended abruptly. As in Massachusetts it’s where I’d grow closer to my sister, my twin nephews, learn 12 Step recovery, volunteer and become more selfless in life, and develop closer relationships with my dear friends Cedric and Debbie.
So, while my mind struggled completely with regret over the value of my old home and the improvements I made now all being erased, I was able to find peace in my heart and get over any of that regret by remembering that some pretty dam good things wouldn’t have happened in my life if I had chosen to remain at 3225 Nealon Drive to this day.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson