"Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you." -Ali ibn Abi Talib
“Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.”
– Ali ibn Abi Talib

Our Milwaukee house finally sold last week. Objectively, three months on the market is not bad. However, given all the stress that came with ridding ourselves of terrible tenants, preparing the property for sale, and then crossing our fingers after each of the open houses our realtor held… it’s felt like an eternity of hoping. And then an intense week of scrambling to make sure all the paperwork is signed properly in front of a notary public, and that all the funds are available to cover the shortfall between what the sale price was and what the remainder of our mortgage was. Our buyer got an excellent deal; the house became very expensive for us.

However, as Ali ibn Abi Talib notes so profoundly, there is a significant release in disallowing some thing or circumstance to own you. Your thoughts. Your energy.

So hubs and I have spent the weekend decompressing from the stress of it all–some of which, I’m sure, contributed to the fact that hubs is on his second week of fighting a nasty bronchitis, and I’m a week into a debilitating cold/flu. We cuddled up to watch “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (which had its humorous moments, but wasn’t particularly special–aside from having two female leads in an action/adventure comedy). And the next night, to watch the first handful of episodes in season 2 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The photography in this show is lush, and whoever came up with the visual idea of flipping the world on the pivot of the points of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower was a genius. The show continues to have strong dialog and characterization. I love the Susie character. On the other hand, the flippant disregard of the kids as anything other than background props keeps nagging at both hubs and me. The other oddity: The baby in the piece… is maybe a year older than hubs. It’s strange to imagine that such stifling times were actually recent history.

As a related point, I recently read an article about how women were written out of the history of science. Contrast that with reporting in The Atlantic last month about this century’s robber barons: The owners of the Gilded Age of Silicon Valley.

Why is it that even still, as a woman, it’s so difficult to gain some kind of traction within the cultural zeitgeist? Possibly, it’s related (at least in the publishing world I pay most attention to) to what Kameron Hurley wrote about for Locus Magazine: The “everybody already knows” phenomenon… that somehow never reaches the newbies to the conversation. It seems most of this could be explained by a generally human disinclination to share our foibles, false starts, and failures.

But, and this relates back to the pain of coming up with a huge pile of cash to be able to sell our house: fundamentally, as a society, we like to measure success by a bullshit metric: How much money did that thing earn? I say bullshit metric in earnest, because a metric should be applicable in all circumstances. A ruler is never going to measure an inch as anything other than an inch. However, a pile of money? The ways to accumulate (or lose) that are so diverse and range from laudable to execrable, so why (and how?!) would it count as a singular signifier of worth?

So we’ve been philosophizing and reminding ourselves of the happy times we enjoyed in Milwaukee. We’re no longer homeowners, and given how we drained our savings to achieve that, we won’t be for some time again–if ever. But we’re finding value in maintaining the serenity of our home and the health of its inhabitants, so maybe I’m going to be able to return to my WIP again someday soon. And be OK with the fact that there are times in my life when life overwhelms me so I don’t have the energy to sit and write. At least this week, for the day job, I was able to churn out a 10-page research report, so that appears to have loosened the writing cogs to a certain degree. It’s been two weeks since I wrote the 218 words that crossed me into the second half of the story, but thought and words are percolating there again.

As for my other goals, my FitBit says I averaged 8 hours and 9 minutes of sleep last week and 5,578 steps per day.

There are only 10 days left in this iteration of ROW80, so I’m well aware that I won’t be finishing Team Alpha this time around. But I have gotten other things done that needed doing, so I’ll continue putting one foot in front of the other. And I’ll likely report back again next week. Until then, I recommend checking out how the other ROW80ers are doing.

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One thought on “Detachment

  1. It sounds like owning your own home was not what you’d hoped it would be. You mentioned having trouble with tenants… was this because you’d bought a two-family home or something multi-family? Did you have tenants when you bought the place?

    What are your plans now, Tonya? Will you do some kind of apartment or condo arrangement (some of them do seem very attractive, but like all roses… they have their thorns)….

    Your description of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel intrigued me. I keep seeing it on Netflix, but never felt brave enough to click… I’m more intrigued and more scared now. I love the way your descriptions entice and dance through ideas.

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