I just turned 500! Well, not me personally, but today marks the 500th Perspective. (Whew!)
That's 500 compositions, 500 e-mailings, 500 stories, 500 anecdotes, 500 challenges, 500 lessons learned, 500 solutions, 500 opportunities for growth, 500 acts of service, 500 spiritual experiences (I've prayed a lot through the years), 500 new friends and at least 500 typos. (You've let me know about everyone of them.)
Over the past decade, I've written about my husband, my boys, my friendships, my mother-in-law, my parents, my twin sister, and my family of colleagues. I've written about the death of my dog, the new puppy, my marriage, empty nesting, new beginnings, my failings, my successes, my frustrations, my missteps, my wins, my neighborhood, my community, and my experiences representing both Buyers and Sellers in the highly-competitive Bay Area Marketplace. (I didn't always get it right, but I always did my best, given the parameters.) In fact, there were few topics that were truly off limits. (And you thought I was writing about Real Estate.)
I've opened my household and garden - both metaphorically and literally - to my readership, and you've often responded in kind. I've received thousands of positive and encouraging responses over the years, and I'm grateful for each and everyone of them. (Thank you; you know who you are). Not everyone agrees with me on everything and that's okay too. My thoughts are my opinions only and as my husband taught me early on in our marriage, "We'll have to politely agree to disagree." (Gee, what a concept.) Different points of view come with the territory.
I've often been asked, "How do you come up with a new topic each week?"
The answer is: "I don't."
Boil each of those pieces down to their very essence and you'll quickly discover that I've been writing week after week about hope, faith, fear, love, loss, growth, trust, surrender, acceptance, and letting go . . . because when it comes to either buying or selling a home, I guarantee you that each of these emotions are going to surface along the way. How each of us prepares and responds to the upheaval will absolutely set the stage for how the journey ultimately evolves.
I've used the Perspective to educate, to inform, to provoke, to share, and to guide. Heck, I've used it as my own personal group therapy, saving thousands of dollars along the way in counseling fees (although I'm overdue for a 50,000 mile tune-up fo' sure).
But mostly, this column has been my outlet and my touchstone, and finally, a platform on which to tell my stories. Real Estate is nothing, if not DRAMATIC (!!!) and for better or for worse, my experiences in the trenches have supplied me with AMPLE material - and then some (not all of it fit to print).
A handful of you wondered if I was writing about you specifically. (Sometimes, I was.) More often, the stories represented an amalgamation of many experiences and interactions with a pinch of literary license thrown in, as is a writer's prerogative. Usually, the most insightful and tender moments came when a client taught me something new. These were often unexpected gifts and I'm grateful for them.
Am I a writer or a Realtor?
Can't I be both? Aren't we all more than one thing?
As I state on my website by way of introduction: "I am a wife, a mother, a Realtor, a weekly blogger, a weekend gardener, a serial renovator, a before-and-after specialist, a flea-market junkie, and a prolific chocolate-chip cookie baker." (I've baked more than 40,000 cookies over the years!) "I value a good book, a rare find, a true friend, and a long walk in the hills, often with my dog, Riley, in tow."
So here's to 500 more stories and adventures along the way. (You can always "unsubscribe" if you're tired of reading, OR pass me along to a friend if you're not.) Here's to hope, faith, fear, love, loss, growth, trust, surrender, acceptance, and letting go. And here's to cake! Let's celebrate.
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.