Some days seem more important than others. There are days we remember with complete clarity, days we capture in pictures and stories: first days of school; first time driving a car. First days of college. First days of work. The first time we fall in love. Today was one of those days. Today, for the first time, I walked through the door of a house that belongs to me. Today, I became a homeowner.
After a month of frantic paperwork and a day of impatient waiting, I found myself sitting on the floor of my empty living room drinking celebratory champagne out of a paper coffee cup. In this quiet moment of joy, I have never felt more loved.
Until now, I have lived the life of a wanderer. I have scattered my memories across continents and far-flung friendships. I have been restless, seeking new adventures and unknowable wisdom. I have lived. I have learned. I have failed and I have grown. And now, I am beginning to build.
By no means am I building alone.
This house is a legacy. It is a product of the hard work, care, and generosity of my family for generations past. My parents, my grandparents, and countless grandparents before them have all been instrumental to the opportunities I have been afforded. Sitting alone in my new home, reflecting on this monumental step in my life, I could feel their pride and happiness. I could feel the fulfillment of the long-sought wish of every parent for their child. Each and every one of these mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers have given me a piece of themselves – granting me the fortune of a foundation on which to build.
This house is a culmination of many years of uncertainty. In my travels, I have often sought to understand who I am. I have tried on many different skins to see what fit best. This last year has been a consolidation of everything I have experienced. I have challenged myself to stop searching and begin progressing. The time has come to stop moving and embrace stillness. Seattle has quickly become my home and so it became obvious – this is where I want to belong. This house is the first of my roots.
This house is terrifying – it is a commitment to a single place and a particular life. It’s an acknowledgment that I am now stationary. It’s a decision to begin building. It’s something I feel entirely unequipped for.
But then I think back to my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents – all people who have risked far more than I ever have. I think of the trepidation of moving to an unfamiliar continent, of seeking a better life in the unknown. I think of the many hours in steel foundries and on factory floors. I think of the wars they fought and the financial depressions they faced. I think of their struggles and their triumphs and this legacy left behind. Their bravery drives me forward.
Today, I begin building the next story. It weaves in memories and the grace of the past. My ending remains unknown and uncertain, but there is a comfort knowing that I am their happy ending. And that stories are built one brick at a time.