Sometimes we get a chance to look back at problems we’ve encountered in the past, and see the world fresh, with a kinder, gentler and wiser perspective. Growth – I think they call it. Today was one such of those days for me.
As a woman recently past the 50 mark, I have traded in my hopes for long, tanned and flawless legs – for an acceptance and love of my strong, if not perfect, sturdy if not flawless and useful, if not magazine-worthy ones. They get me where I need to go, and provide all manners of lessons and memories of the places I have already been. I love and appreciate them for that.
Likewise, I found myself today, scheduling, and preparing my real estate first-time homebuyers for the week ahead, which includes signing their loan documents, doing their final walk thru, and closing escrow on their first home. This is something I have done hundreds of times, yet, for these clients, like virtually every other first-time homebuyer, this process is new to them, fraught with peril, uncertainty and stress. They are correct to be under a little stress – there are often many things that go awry during this time – most of which, however, amount to unforeseen delays, rather than actual, real-life disasterous events.
This is where that blessed Wisdom kicks in – finding one’s self at peace – trusting in the process, as opposed to participating in the frenzy of fear. I recall, years ago, as a much younger agent, when the timing of a close of escrow, and hence, the receipt of a long awaited commission check represented not only the completion of my duties, but also a desperately needed infusion of cash that kept a very thin line of finances afloat. A few days, one way or the other might have seemed tragic – causing a domino effect of unpleasant consequences financially – car payments being late – missing deadlines with license fees – getting those unpleasant late fees and credit dings…
And in addition, concerned, all the while, that somehow I might be personally implicated in whatever issue emerges late in escrow causing my client to be in distress. I recall one such event where my buyer had given notice on her apartment and needed to be moved in to her new place by the weekend. A small, typical blip during the loan document process caused a 3 day delay. Screaming, tears and blaming ensued…. Not having had the conversation with my buyer about leaving some room for error around move in dates, I felt partially responsible for her lack of common sense – though the event itself was out of my control. As such, I sacrificed some of my commission to pay for some movers the following week, stretching myself across the distress of my client like a human band-aid, just hoping to make the problem go away. I did that fairly often in those days – and many inexperienced agents do – thus feeding, and participating in the financial cycle of lack that starts the entire fearful process in the first place. Ironic, ay?
-Cleansing breath and smile-
I don’t do that anymore – for lo, tho I have walked through the Valley of Lack and Disheartenment, I fear no Escrow – for thou – Wisdom – art beside me – pointing fingers and laughing at my former self.
Over the years I’ve learned two very important lessons: 1. No matter how awful things have seemed at any given moment, they STILL haven’t figured out how to kick me off this planet. And 2. A little, well-placed communication to prepare someone (in this case, a new buyer) for the realities of the situation, and what to reasonably expect can resolve 99% of fear-based blowback. The truth of the matter is – in any problem: “If there is a solution – there’s no need to worry. If there is not a solution – there is still, no need to worry.” Learning to live in the moment, and take care of that moment – when all of the moments are strung together, turns, automatically, into the sum of our lives. Worry and stress, is, therefore, wasted energy. Just take care of this moment, and what will be, will be.
Since I have simultaneously learned to apply this wisdom more often, while watching the tautness of my former leg glory soften into something different and arguably, more interesting…I have found that the “emergencies” of the moment come far less often, and are typically prevented by having enough experience to know when to apply a little forethought and preparation, and enough self respect to keep myself from taking on everyone else's set of consequences.
Ah…youth – You can keep it.