I'm officially two-hundred! Wow, that's kind of amazing when I stop to think about it. With fifty-two weeks in a year (except for a few vacation breaks each summer ) I suppose that means I have been penning "The Piedmont Perspective" for a little over four years now. (Don't I look good for my age? AND more to the point, just why haven't I been discovered by Hollywood yet?)
Along the way, I hope I've made more friends than I've lost. Perhaps the greatest compliment is when I meet readers for the first time who declare, "You don't know me, but I know all about you!" (That's a gift.)
It's true, I've poked, prodded, and pulled my family and friends into the column on more than a few occasions (often without their permission) and have used this platform to work out a few issues of my own (a revelation I suspect, doesn't surprise any of you). "The Perspective" hasn't only been a sounding board for all manner of Real Estate topics, it's also served as my therapy and master class as well (albeit a whole lot cheaper).
Gratefully, I am surrounded by friends and family who support and nurture me, but more importantly, have the ability to laugh at themselves in turn. If you've found yourself in a column or two, consider it the ultimate compliment (you've inspired me!) OR as my husband Cliff is quick to point out, "If you're speaking with Julie, you've effectively waived your right to privacy."
That's not entirely true (I hold your confidences sacred) but it is true that I do tend to see a real estate analogy in almost every opportunity (and admittedly, I borrow liberally).
Still, there's an important distinction between what should and what shouldn't be shared with the public, and I hope I've done my best to respectfully honor this fragile line. Rarely, and regretfully, there were a few observations that may have caused offense. When I did so, you quickly and emphatically let me know. Thank you for your astute observations and willingness to be equally vulnerable in the moment. You've provided me invaluable opportunities to grow - for which I am ever grateful.
My goal first and foremost, has always been to make The Perspective interesting and compelling (why else bother?) and to that end, I've not only shared my truth, but a bit of my personal journey along the way. For those of you who wrote to say, "I get a lot of industry Blogs, but yours is the only one I read," know that you made my day - I can truly think of no greater compliment.
While honing this weekly column, I'll admit that on more than one occasion, I have argued with my broker, rankled a few colleagues, and come up against deadlines I struggled to meet, but I also discovered that the more I wrote, the easier the stories came. Experience has provided an endless stream of material and you've shown me that personal anecdotes are more colorful and "graphic" than graphs will ever be. (People are complex - as is Real Estate.) After hearing from hundreds of you over the years, it's rewarding to know that it's the stories you connected to: "I loved the one you wrote about your son catching the ball in the outfield . . . my son loves baseball too . . .".
Some of you "got me" right away, while others, took more time to warm up and still others, decisively hit the "unsubscribe" button with little fanfare and NO apology. That's okay, no offense taken - I'm not everybody's "cup of tea," but happily, enough of you read "The Perspective" on a weekly basis to encourage me to continue to voice an opinion that not only found a home but seems to be highly sustainable as well. (Subscribers have grown from 250 to more than 1300 and climbing - I'm honored.)
While writing is a solo journey, publishing requires many eyes and ears. Many thanks to my bosses at The GRUBB Co., DJ Grubb and John Karnay, who started out as my harshest critiques, but proved to incredibly patient and astute mentors. To my generous colleagues, Karen Starr and Dana Cohen, who consistently offer fresh eyes each week as my proof readers, and to Tricia Swift who never fails to send me kudos and compliments every Wednesday (the definition of "grace"). You've been enthusiastic cheerleaders from the very start and I will be forever indebted to each of you.
I owe my heart to my husband, Cliff, my boys, Case and Tristan, and my gratitude to my parents, siblings and friends (too numerous to list) who have willingly allowed me to peel back the onion on our respective lives in order to reveal lessons and humor from our collective pain and laughter. (No experience is ever wasted and luckily the boys rarely read their mother's writing!) They've supported me, indulged me and encouraged me with few exceptions and even fewer complaints (that's love).
Finally, thanks to all of you, who have followed my ramblings week in and week out, debated my observations, played the trivia games when asked, responded to my questions, submitted events, suggested ideas, and referred friends and clients my way simply because I had managed to earn your TIME and your TRUST. (I can think of no more precious or valuable commodities.)
So I ask you, "With support and love like that, who needs Hollywood?"
Still, if you happen to know Darren Starr, please send him my way. I envision "The Piedmont Perspective" as the Real Estate equivalent of "Sex and the City" - except with no sex and no city. (Why let details get in the way ?)
Cut to: a hardworking, yet very sincere (and also attractive) Realtor in a tree-line, picturesque hamlet (near a BIG city) who writes a compelling weekly Blog. She's busy typing at her computer . . .
Hollywood, here I come.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 14 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.