Five years ago today it happened. It was Valentine’s Day, and our lives changed dramatically in an instant. I was cooking a meal and had the table decorated with glitter, streamers and flowers. All things were pink and red with hearts or roses. It was a celebration of sorts.
Six months earlier, we had finally completed the almost five-year project of renovating our Victorian bungalow. We were about to close on our second home in just a few weeks. It was a little cabin in the North Georgia mountains. Rustic and cozy, it would give me an escape and a place to write when I couldn’t take the traffic in Atlanta. Yes, me the city girl—I would be able to disappear–if even for a little while. My husband’s commute was so far north that he would be able to get to either house in about 90 minutes. I couldn’t wait and neither could he.
It was an exciting moment for us. We were going to have options for the first time in our lives together. City or country? I would be able to decorate another house. Of course I was doing interior design for clients, but nothing was as fun or fulfilling as decorating for myself. It was also a sense of accomplishment. Plus, we knew that real estate was the most logical way to invest money. It hadn’t done us wrong so far.
In a moment, the unexpected took over. My husband walked in the door like he did every other night, but he said something that he had never said before, “I lost my job today.” I was in shock but tried to remain calm and supportive. He had uncertainty in his eyes. We had our share of tough times. Owning two properties simultaneously while living in one and renovating the other was no small feat. It was a trying period. But this? Neither one of us could answer the questions that raced through our clouded minds.
It’s hard to believe that was 2007. Seems like yesterday, and also forever ago. The next few months of our life would be a whirlwind, from selling the house, to packing, to finding a job and an apartment, to moving to New York and adapting to a different lifestyle. Even now—wow is all I can say. I didn’t have enough hours in the day to really think about the journey that we were about to take. It was undoubtedly the most thrilling chapter so far.
Although it wasn’t positive at the time, that Valentine’s Day goes down in history as one of the most memorable. It wasn’t an unhappy ending; it was a new beginning.