My (Re) Starter House

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starter houseShortly after getting married, my now ex-husband and I enthusiastically purchased our first home. Like many other young newlyweds, we bought what we referred to as our “starter” house. It was just the right size (in realtor terms: cute and quaint) for a young, newly married couple. Perfect for two first-time home buyers to start their lives together. We knew it would be a special place to unpack our beautiful wedding gifts, make a home and eventually create a family within its walls.

We were so excited and proud of the life we were building.

As expected, we loved that house; it was the site of many amazing memories. We happily transformed our home office into the perfect nursery for our daughter when she was born. But after three years living there, we had had a second child, and it was time to make our next move. It was time to find our “forever” home. We packed up and moved into a much larger house in a great school district – although we kept our first home and decided to rent it for extra income.

Unfortunately, several years later, my husband and I got a divorce.

My plans for my “forever” home clearly had been inaccurate.

And, with my life turned upside down by the separation and divorce, it was clearly not the time to make any new big life decisions, like buying a new home. I decided that moving back to our old house made the most sense for me while figuring out my next steps.

But as I moved back in, I quickly realized the house felt very different. I was not the young, excited, wide-eyed, naive young woman who had purchased this home 10 years earlier. Walking into the empty space, I noticed every nick and flaw. It was no longer cute and quaint. I now saw it as small, tired, and depressing.

But, after some much-needed soul-searching — and with the support of my amazing friends and family — I began to embrace the house. What was originally my “starter” house was now my “re-starter” house. This would be a place I could make my own while I transitioned to the next phase.

Under this roof, I would re-start my adult life. And I was ready for the reboot; it was time to stop looking back and instead focus on the future.

With my newfound perspective, I decided that this house was the perfect place for my daughters and me to grow and thrive. I mean, I now had “hers and hers” closets and two bathroom sinks (who doesn’t need two sinks?). Together, the three of us – helped out by two very talented professionals — renovated our “re-starter” home and made it beautiful (in my humble opinion). I was proud of our home. I was proud of where I would now be raising my daughters.

Of course, as I had already discovered, nothing is forever, and this month I will sell the home that started and then re-started my adult life. I will leave it with both fond and difficult memories. As I literally close the door on those chapters and move into a new house, I am optimistic and excited.

I don’t know if my new home will be my “forever” house, but I am confident it is my “perfect for right now” house.

starter house

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Robin Zimmern is originally from Boston, MA arriving in Pensacola in 2008 via Nashville and Birmingham. Since moving to the south, Robin has embraced her inner "y’all," learned to wear pearls, eat grits, and knows the words to every Garth Brooks’ song. Robin is a proud girl mom to two precocious, creative and sassy girls: Emma (9) and Charlotte (6). They keep her on her toes in their never-ending desire to become YouTube stars, survive on a diet of pizza and chicken nuggets, and always trying to have the last word. Robin received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Vanderbilt University, and her specialist degree from the University of West Florida. Robin serves as the director of development at the University of West Florida. In Robin’s spare time (is that a thing?), she is a passionate community volunteer. Robin sits on several local boards, including the Pensacola Little Theatre, Manna, Junior League of Pensacola, Fiesta Pensacola, Valerie's House and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

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