Monday, 2 January 2017

Though Picnic: On the home I lost and the life I gained

Telling it again
It is with a sense of gratitude and good fortune that I have enjoyed and do continue to enjoy many of the good things in life.
In one way of another, experience, education, example, and explanation has given me the capacity to view life as a story, one that probably never gets told to the depth of the feeling that inspired the need to tell the tale.
However, counting one’s blessings leaves one very much on the side of happy, fulfilled and content. Things may not be perfect, but what is a story if everything is as predictable as to become unexciting and pretty boring?
The long tail of cancer
Yesterday, I found myself combing the archives of the Internet for a piece of my history. I once had an apartment overlooking two harbours from the 7th in Amsterdam. I spent a wonderful ten and a half years there until I had to sell it at a loss following the long tail of cancer.
I say the long tail of cancer because, for the few of us who have been granted the second life of living beyond the ravages of cancer, once health is sorted out, you begin to realise that you have no new excuses for not going back into the world to live, that requires either going back to where you left life before cancer or having to start all over again.
Taking pills doesn’t pay the bills
As you ingest the pills to make you better whilst being too incapacitated to do any reasonable work to earn a living, the bills pile up and have to be paid. In my case, all my creditors, the bank, the mortgage company, the utility company were sympathetic apart from one credit card company – American Express – I guess they are not in the amelioration and respite business. C’est la vie!
Invariably, I had to sell my house, my illness, the credit crunch, comatose property market all united into a perfect storm that I sold the house at a just under a 10% loss after paying almost half of the value of the apartment in interest over 126 months or thereabouts.
Letting go of the thing
It was an investment I had to walk away from with sadness, but also with a sense of freedom to attempt to build from scratch again, because in the three years after cancer, the long tail of cancer that I talked of earlier, I lost everything.
So, I found out yesterday that the young couple I sold the place to just over 4 years ago had now sold it again and walked away with a cool profit of 38.5%, such luck and I am happy for them.
I bought the place at the height of the market and basically the value never really appreciated over the time that I lived there, but it was my home, so it did not matter until circumstances necessitated drastic action.
Concentrating on the pursuit of happiness
Then again, one cannot live a life full of improbables and regrets, the gift of life alone is one for which I would always be grateful. The story of life which might be punctuated with profits and losses is diminished if that is the only account one has of living. In mine, I have suffered loss, obtained gain, been sad, been happy, gone on many adventures and have continued to fulfil my dreams in ways many others cannot begin to conjure the imagination for.
The bigger lesson in all this is about things, being able to let go of things regardless of the cost to be able to go onto other things. In that, I am blessed with the force of hope and the reality of achievement, I am grateful for the opportunity to tell this story in good health.
Let the pursuit of happiness continue. Happy New Year!

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