The End of 14 Years

by Simon Goland, August 28, 2013

living-roomEven though I moved into my loft in August of 1999, I still remember coming to see it before the purchase. It was big, spacious, bare, with boring white walls, unpainted metal ceiling, primitive and minimal kitchen, polished plywood on the upper floor, and – for some strange reason – the washer and dryer were also in the kitchen, right beside the fridge. Hmm…

At the end of my high school time, I saw the movie Flashdance. Since then, I had this dream of living in a warehouse which I could design in a unique, functional, personalized and vibrant style. Much like what I saw in the movie. Luckily, I remembered that dream when thinking about this strange, bare, and empty loft, and eventually realized that it could become my blank canvass. It did.

And now, 14 years and 2 months later, I will be moving out. The loft is sold, and I am moving on, and in to a whole new place, this time with my beloved. As we are going through a process of co-creation and imagination and ideas and practicalities, I am also packing and cleaning and throwing away and completing a phase of life in one place. This has been the longest I have ever been in one place, and there is no shortage of memories. So, in no particular chronological order…

“The best care-taker offers a combination of challenge and support… . To be nurturant is not always to concur and comfort, to stroke and flatter and appease; often, it requires offering a caring version of the truth, grounded in reality. Self-care should include the cold shower as well as the scented tub. Real caring requires setting priorities and limits. Even the hard choices of triage have their own tenderness.” – Mary Bateson

Snapshot. After facilitating a retreat with a few friends, we decided to have a party to acknowledge and celebrate all the volunteers. The chosen theme ended up being a Hawaian style, and so we had 12 ft palm trees, surf boards on the walls, full music setup with a multi-light display, and several TV monitors running video clips from the retreat.

Snapshot. Tobi is attacked and bitten by a Great Dane of a neighbour, just outside our door. My instinctive reaction was “not pretty.”

Snapshot. Sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by clothes, hiking gear, bicycle stuff, and maps. Preparing and packing to leave on a 9-week solo vacation, adventure, quest, trip – cycling and backpacking through Chile and Argentina.

Snapshot. Eight dear friends who formed the “On the Edge” support group, sitting in a circle, sharing, supporting, challenging, crying, and laughing together.

Snapshot. Rehearsals of the Playback Theatre group in the living room.

Snapshot. Christmas morning, with Tobi ripping apart the wrapping paper on his gift.

Snapshot. New Year’s eve. Alone at home.

Snapshot. A stranger shows up at my door, a guest through (there was a time before AirBNB). Within less than an hour, I hand him my car and house keys, phone numbers of a few friends, and leave to Toronto for 5 days.

Snapshot. Some years later. The same “stranger” is now having a wedding ceremony at my place, marrying a dear friend.

Snapshot. 3 large TVs, stacked up on each other (borrowed from neighbours), and a group of friends who just finished an intense and deep workshop, watching the Matrix, while spread all over the living room space.

Snapshot. Hard and painful conversation. Tears. She walks out the door.

Snapshot. Snapshot. Snapshot….

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius

Ultimately, a place is a collection of memories, experiences, emotions, and moments. They shape and form who we are, on that endless journey of our unfolding and becoming. It appears that #408 took me as far as we needed to go together, and it is time to move on. Thank you, loft! I think I am ready fro the next phase.