A few weeks ago I spent the day working myself into a real tizzy. I'd headed to Petaluma to tend to my mother-in-law, Zee. Due to degenerative health issues, life has become significantly more challenging for Cliff's mother as she struggles to meet the growing demands old age humbly presents. For a women who has traveled the world, walked the Great Wall of China, has been awed by the Fjords, shopped the Paris flea markets, and literally worked a job she loved up until last year (she's been the Ever Ready Bunny!) a compromised life is very difficult to accept, even at this late stage of the game.
My generation isn't just seeing our kids off to college, we are also helping our parents navigate the mind fields of aging. In both cases, there's a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety and expense that accompany this journey. It's inevitable, I suppose, but hardly welcome news from anyone's perspective.
I'd already spent a good deal of time working my way into a bad mood while stuck in TRAFFIC between Novato and my final destination. Crawling along at a glacier's pace due to freeway construction (actually, glaciers move faster) I was getting grumpier and grumpier by the minute, but when my cellular phone froze up, I really boiled over.
Without a functioning phone, I-pad, or desktop at the ready, I was unable to respond to text or email when I finally arrived and (because I'm really important) that just wouldn't do. Every fiber in my body wanted to throw that *&)"!*# phone against the wall and SCREAM!
Hours later, when I headed home (more traffic across the Richmond Bridge) and straight into my local Verizon store (or Mecca, as the case may be), the steam was virtually coming out of my ears!!!
"How can I help you?" the polite, young clerk asked. (What a set up.)
I may have been too far gone (forgive me).
"Please, please, PLEASE just make this right," I responded VERY emphatically, "my business depends on being responsive in a timely manner!" (Breathe, breathe, breathe, BREATHE! I told myself over and over . . . to little avail.)
Two and a half hours later and minus a few hundred dollars (thank you very much), I was back at work answering email. For the record, I didn't fully take my frustration out on the sympathetic clerk, but I am embarrassed to say that I DID let a phone ruin my entire day. (What? I let a phone ruin my ENTIRE day. Really???)
"Apologies for getting back to you so late," I sheepishly wrote to my client, "but my internet hasn't been functioning . . ." "Don't you just love it" she kindly responded, "when technology dies and you don't have to be a prisoner to email; isn't it nice to be present and focused on what's in front of you for a change?"
OMG, who thinks like that? Yes, it is. (Light bulb moment. Thank you, Ashley.)
Instead, confronted with the unexpected, I'd quickly defaulted to frustration and irritability; anger and rage. Clearly, the universe had conspired against me. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, I was distracted by how quickly I could attend to my own problems. As you might imagine, these actions don't carry the best of intentions with them.
It's a reminder that some of this stuff (most of this stuff) we just don't get to control. So perhaps the best we can do is to have some clarity around the challenges we face, to understand when and where we may have some impact, to look for solutions, to move into action, and then to let the results land where they may . . . and when none of these words of wisdom work, to change OUR perspective! (And by "our," I mean "mine.")
Not surprisingly, the world of Real Estate is filled with "challenges" as well - it's truly the nature of the beast.
And so the list goes. The answers depend largely on how you define your goals and your needs, the timing of the marketplace, your financial position and liquidity, where you plan to live next, how much work needs to be undertaken, the current condition of your home, AND your level of risk and tolerance. Under the best of circumstances, selling and buying are highly stressful and emotionally charged events. Believe me, "stuff" is going to come to the surface. Ride it out. This too, shall pass.
Not surprisingly, the decision to sell (or buy) is typically predicated by a significant life event: a birth, a death, a marriage, a divorce, a job transfer, a job promotion, your last child going off to college . . . AND then the move comes about. Of course, it's going to be stressful. Why should it be anything else?
Which means that much of my job as your 'Realtor,' is to provide answers to your questions, to listen to your concerns, to communicate effectively, to help guide you through these life events as gracefully as possible and to navigate the challenges that come about (they always do). Gratefully, I have a large contingent of people/labor/vendors behind me who bring their collective strengths, skills and talents to the equation as well. We are poised (and trained) to put one foot in front of the other until the objective is achieved.
Good thing my phone is back in working order. I'll need it!
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.