Finding the Current . . .
I'm not sure "surrendering" comes naturally to anyone. There's something incredibly difficult about the concept that makes us feel as if we're giving in and giving up, when in my experience, the exact opposite is true.
The tendency to fight instead of letting go, reminds me of a story my friend recently shared about being stuck on a sandbar in the Russian River.
Frustrated at her unexpected predicament, she rocked and rocked, but couldn't get the darn kayak to budge. . . Just as she was preparing to admit defeat and awkwardly squirm her way out of the skirt in order to push the boat back into the current before quickly jumping inside (oh bother), she leaned back and caught site of two Osprey right above her, diving into the water below, the towering redwoods and the blue sky above.
"It was incredible," she said, "and I was missing ALL OF THE BEAUTY while I grumbled and stewed, and fought that stupid sandbar."
"And do you know," she went on to share, "that the simple act of lying back shifted my weight enough that the boat miraculously lifted off the sandbar and I effortlessly floated into the current." (I effortlessly floated into the current...)
Now that's "surrender." It's also a neat little story about perspective.
I'd be lying if I were to say that "fighting the current" is a concept with which I have no familiarity, or that our "perspective" doesn't frequently get skewed as we race mightily to keep up with the demands of the marketplace. With respect to Bay Area real estate in particular, there's so much at stake that expectations can run impossibly high. It doesn't help that this is your home, while I am essentially the intruder with a list of "suggestions" and "demands" that don't always go over well - or easily.
In truth, what I may see as "solution," you may view as something entirely different. Thus, it's easy to see how my methods - and yours - might easily clash. And at the risk of being terribly forceful, I often need to do in a few short weeks, what hasn't been done in several years, which means I'm likely to push through the process more quickly than you might like - or entirely appreciate.You wouldn't be the first; my own completely reasonable husband has barely adjusted to my speed after 28 years of marriage (which is my cue to slow down, but probably isn't going to happen. I blame my father who couldn't abide idle children.)
So while we might not be entirely in sync with what I need to do to bring you top-dollar, versus what you'd like to do to avoid the inconvenience of the marketing, the expense and the preparation, ("Can't we sell the house with my things in it?" Yes we can, but you won't see the same return), we can certainly acknowledge that we are on the same team, that ALL change is stressful, that moves are chaotic by their very nature, and that our goal is to have a successful transaction in the end. AND then we can try and maintain some perspective around the challenging process with respect for one another's differing points of view. It's a home, it's your equity, and it's important, but as much as it matters GREATLY, it's not life or death.
Earlier this week, I was reminded of the stark difference when I attended a funeral for a dear friend and her 27 year-old son. They hadn't expected their lives to end so abruptly or tragically (none of us had), and as her surviving child gave the most moving eulogy I have ever had the privilege to hear, as the stunned and tearful crowd painfully witnessed her son's heart break into a million scattered pieces; as his tender voice cracked, and stalled, and started again to outline the sheer scope of his loss - a loss so great it defies understanding - I couldn't help but dismiss my own struggles, frustrations, problems, and SANDBARS (!!!), as mere inconveniences - at best. (Floria and Navid: I hope you are effortlessly floating in the river; the trees, the osprey and the blue skies above. You will forever be missed.)
"You know, Julie," a Seller said to me recently after struggling with her own busy family's move to another city and the growing lists of requests on my part, "I DO eventually make it to 'surrender,' AND then, of course, I always find the journey gets sooo much easier." (Yes, it does. This Big Sur Zen baby has more to teach me than I can ever teach her. )
And true to her word, once she let go, she floated off the sandbar, trusted in my team's experience, and had faith in the result, which was far better than either of us expected, or could have predicted.
I promise you, no matter the struggle, the rapids, or the white water, we WILL find the current. It may not be effortless, but we'll get there. Grab a paddle; the river is waiting.
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.