— Essentials —

Moving Forward is About Letting Go

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The place I thought I couldn’t live without… I’ve sold it. In a few weeks, the Little House and my beautiful land in the Texas Hill Country will belong to someone else. It’s something I never thought I’d do and yet, I’m excited!

Even though I’ve never lived a conventional life, my strong sense of home has always been important to me.

For 30 years I lived behind a locked gate on 22 acres that overlooked the city of San Antonio. Even before I owned it, “the house on the hill” was legendary; a country unto itself. With secret rooms and hidden safes, it was headquarters for a Nazi spy ring during World War II, then a gambling casino where politicians played roulette and had trysts with women who weren’t their wives. It then sat abandoned for years: the ultimate Fixer Upper. It was the perfect backdrop for my life; something even Hollywood and Shonda Rhimes couldn’t have written.

The house on the hill had a personality as strong and well-defined as any human I’ve ever known. So much so, that when I married James, I told him he’d have to carry me out of there in a pine box. A few years later I was ready to say goodbye and so, I sold the infamous house with nary a look back.

Together James and I bought our place in the Hill Country. We created a life full of new hopes and dreams cut short by his death. I’ve now lived here longer without him, than I did with him. My love for James and my strong sense of home made me think I’d be carried out of the Little House in a pine box as well, but this website, 1010ParkPlace, made me realize this home is no longer what I need.

I meet and interview the most wonderful women, and you know what? They all have lives. I don’t have a life! Yes I can step into the whirlwind of New York City and then come back to the middle of nowhere—just me and my dogs—but I need a life! I want to be around people! I want a home where I can invite my neighbors over for wine and get togethers that spill into a backyard, lit with tiny lights, while my favorite music plays in the background.

You know who first got me started thinking about this? Marla Ginsburg! In our 1010ParkPlace interview, Marla said things that gave me pause for thought like, “Make peace with who you are and where you are at this stage of your life.” I’ve always hoped 1010ParkPlace would make a positive difference in someone’s life, but little did I know it would be me, especially in this way! So… Here’s my plan!

I’ve leased a cool apartment in San Antonio—that accepts my furry family—while I build a garden home, surrounded by a greenbelt, in the Texas Hill Country. Somewhere James is saying, “Who are you and what have you done with Brenda?” I haven’t lived in a neighborhood or an apartment since college, but it’s time, plus I’ll still be in the Hill Country I love.

Life is a series of adventures. Some are grand. Some are heartbreaking. I’m going to make this chapter a grand addition! What about you? What are your plans for 2016? What do you need to let go of in order to move forward?

Love, Brenda

39 Comments

  • Elizabeth January 2, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Congratulations on your next chapter!

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ve never lived in a new house or built a house, so this should be an adventure!

  • [email protected] January 2, 2016 at 5:35 am

    I am excited for you Brenda…you are such a vibrant and strong woman and I know the next chapter will be amazing!

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Pam, Like you, I keep reinventing myself, finding new ways to make life work for me!

  • Cathy Chester January 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I didn’t think it was possible but I have even more love and respect for you and your choices, Brenda. You are a courageous woman who grieves the greatest of tragedies and then brings James along in your heart for the next ride. I wish you all blessings and wonder for your next adventure.

    As we try to sell our home for over 1.5 years – with a very bad market and a growing frustration on our part – I look at you for encouragement. I loved my stay in San Antonio a few years back, and I yearn to get a full life near a downtown where I can do more than live with my laptop working 24/7. We shall see.

    One more thing: a few years ago I reached out to Marla Ginsburg to interview her. I love her fashions and thought the disability community could benefit from their ease of dress and style. I was supposed to go to her studio in NYC to meet with her and her “people” but, unfortunately she had to cancel and we never rescheduled. I feel wholly unqualified, to tell you the truth, to report about fashion. I don’t know one material from another. I only know what I like and what people with disabilities need to ease their day when getting dressed/undressed. And how much better they’d feel with beautiful clothes on. Her colors/styles are tantalizing to me. I am sorry I never heard back from her. So I loved that you were inspired by her. How lovely and I’m so glad!

    Happy New Year, Brenda. Sorry for babbling on….xoxoxo

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Cathy,
      I’m getting verklempt…. Thank you:) Because my property is so special, I had a hunch it would sell quickly, and it did. The second couple who saw it, bought it. Closing is at the end of the month, which is when I’ll move. So much to do!

      Happy New Year to you, sweet friend.
      XOXOXO,
      Brenda

  • Terri January 2, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Wow! I can close my eyes and picture your garden at night twinkling with lights. I think of San Antonio everyday, there seems to be a bit of magic in the air there. Wishing you and the furry ones a grand and glorious year as this new adventure unfolds!

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Thank you, Terri! My new apartment reflects a lot of the cool things about San Antonio. Can’t believe I’ve gone from the middle of nowhere to the thicket of things, but I’m excited! xoxoxo

  • Leslye Hernandez January 2, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Wow that was fast!! Excited for you, and happy you are going to share yourself with your new and potential friends. Having experienced a loner phase myself during a very troubling time, I began to realize its ultimate result is deepening depression. This is great news – keep in touch.
    Leslye

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Leslye,
      I’ve been a loner all my life and never had a problem with depression except since James died. This is a smart move for me, and I’m excited. Here’s to new friends!
      Brenda

  • Susan Macaulay January 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Congratulations! I love that we can make life choices that take us in new directions.

    Coincidentally, I wrote and posted this poem yesterday, which talks about similar themes:

    http://amazingsusan.com/2016/01/01/deal-yourself-a-new-hand/

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      I read your poem and left you a note. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Susan Macaulay January 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm

        Yes, I saw that and thanks. I follow your blog, but don’t always have time to comment – you know what it’s like!

  • Mamavalveeta03 January 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

    You’re so positive about this change in your life, Brenda, and I truly believe that can make all the difference in how it works for you. It’s in how you frame it. Here’s to new friends and a sense of community! XOX

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement, Val. You’re right. Most everything is viewed by how we frame it and by giving it to God. You know that. I sometimes think I’m a professional survivor. I know no other way. xoxox, Brenda

  • Carolyn Johnson Arcos January 2, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Change is good! I wish you blessings and happiness in your new endeavor! I’m glad you are staying in our beautiful city Brenda! Hugs!

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      I’ve owned property in Boerne since I was in my early 20s, so I’m here to stay. Thank you, Carolyn. We should have coffee sometime at Bear Moon.

  • Barbara January 2, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Brenda, I wish you so much fun and inspiration with your new move. I’ve moved more in my life than should be allowed by law. After moving to Cape May last year I feel we are finally done. Enjoy the process and don’t forget to breathe!
    b

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      My dear Barbara… Thanks for the well wishes and good advice. I’m thinking about posting some short videos as the next chapter of my life unfolds. xoxoxo, Brenda

  • Jennifer Connolly January 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I’m so excited for you Brenda!! I have goose bumps thinking of your exciting new plans. You’re so vibrant, I can picture with a house full of friends, spilling into the wee hours! How remarkable that 1010 Park Place has inspired you to step forward and make the change. You’ll glory in it! I hope for an invitation! Happiest of New Years to you. I’m so happy for you my friend.
    XOJennifer

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you, my friend!! I’m excited, yet emotional about it all. xoxox, Brenda

  • The Style Crone January 2, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    This is a wonderful piece about “letting go.” It resonates with me. May your next chapter be filled with magic and wonder. Best wishes to you in your new sanctuary in 2016.

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Judith,
      I’m happy this post spoke to you. Sanctuary is definitely the word I’ll keep in mind. My other homes have been compromises, but this one will be what I want. My best to you this year as well. XOXOX, Brenda

  • Alana Mautone January 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    May the next chapter of your life be everything you dreamed it would be, and more!

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      I’ll toast to that. Thank you, Alana!

  • Glenda January 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Brenda, I’m Glenda from So What to Twenty. I saw your link on Facebook for Midlife sharing. Such a lovely story that resonated with me. We women sure do nestle into our homes. To a fault. The house, and things become our identity. I recently shared my story in a book called A Place Called Peace. It is my journey to inner peace would inspire others. I had to part from a beloved house as well. It felt good to finally let it go so I could move forward.

    • 1010 Park Place January 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Glenda!
      It’s comforting to know you understand where I am. Isn’t is interesting how our homes can easily become our identities? For a long time, I belonged to a writers group, all women. We wrote memoir. Our group was called, “Women, Windows & Walls.” I think that says it all. I’m on your site, right now, and will check out your book. xoxo, Brenda

  • roses2me January 2, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    My dear Brenda, It is amazing how far we have come. You need to stop by my blog and see what I wrote on New Years Eve. God is moving us forward! I’m proud of you and praying for you friend!! Blessings on your newest adventure!! Cindy

    • 1010 Park Place January 3, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Cindy,
      I want to catch up so I will stop by. I know the last five years have been a long road for you as well. I surrender to Him with almost everything. Wishing you all God’s blessings, Brenda

  • Lee Gaitan January 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I think this is going to be such an exciting new adventure! Sometimes we need to pull back, especially after a loss of some sort, and be with alone with our thoughts, our feelings and our very selves, but eventually most of us do yearn to step back into the light. You are stepping out in a big way and it’s absolutely inspiring. Can’t wait to get an update!

    • 1010 Park Place January 3, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Thank you, Lee for that encouragement. For a long time, I thought I would be content living out here with my dogs and my memories, but I need and want more. I’m thinking about doing some video updates, which might be fun.

  • Elaine @ OMG Lifestyle Blog January 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Brenda … I am excited for you with your new adventure and yes, it will be grand! I know that your new home will be filled with style and grace, reflecting you and your personality! Happy new year! Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas this spring! xoxo Elaine

    • 1010 Park Place January 3, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I was thinking I’d love to go to dinner with you and some of the other women we’ve gotten to know from the group. Perhaps we can plan something. xoxox, Brenda

  • Esther Zimmer January 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Brenda, I’m both excited for you and inspired by you! What a decision to have made and I cannot wait to follow along on this grand addition for you and your furry family. Happy New Year to you and sending you much love, a highlight for me in 2015 was being lucky enough to have you ‘walk’ into my life – a highlight for 2016 would be actually meeting you! Essie xx

    • 1010 Park Place January 5, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Essie,
      I feel the same way. We’ll find a way to make that happen.
      XOXOXO,
      Brenda

  • longhollow January 13, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Brenda, how have we missed each other on The Women of Midlife? I had to come visit your blog when I saw you were a fellow Texan. As Sharon said “Texans love other Texans”! This post hits me in two different ways. I’m a Realtor in Austin, and love historical homes, so of course this was right up my alley. What an awesome house! I also live in a house that I can’t imagine ever leaving, a home on a creek on the north shore of Lake Travis, down a dirt road on 5 acres. A big change from the suburbs of Houston where I grew up. We built it ourselves and this little place is a part of me. But congratulations to you for recognizing yours didn’t quite fit you anymore. I’ll remember you if a time ever comes when I start to question if this still fits me. I wish you all the best!

    • 1010 Park Place January 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Great to meet you! Texas has my heart and always will. As I’m writing this, I’m watching the biggest Black Buck Antelope I’ve ever seen run past my window. He has the grace of a gazelle, and his beauty surpasses that of any supermodel. Both of my homes I never saw myself leaving, but our needs sometimes override our love affair with our houses. Your place is even more special because you built it yourselves. I do hope to run into you, again, online. BTW, I’m in Austin a lot. Perhaps we could meet for coffee. Brenda

  • An Artful Mom January 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    How exciting! I’ve often felt the urge to sell our home and find a townhome in a lovely community. I love San Antonio, and as one who is stuck in the suburbs of St. Louis, I envy you. I’m enjoying your blog–(and as an over 55er, I relate well to women who are constantly re-inventing themselves in mid-life and beyond. I began a small business as a reading tutor a few years ago.) Found you at Katherine’s Corner.

    • 1010 Park Place January 26, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Hello Pam! So glad to see you, here. We have many things in common, including Jesus. I can’t begin to imagine what this reinvention would have been like without God and His Son. As we age, the possibilities for reinvention are endless. It’s our job to find what suits us best, and ask Him for guidance. Hope to see you, again. Brenda

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