This is a good time of year for reflection. In fact, we are reminded around every corner of another year ending and a new one beginning. The phrase we frequently hear is "year end review". Even though I often color outside the lines, I've surrendered to what's in the air ...
Many of you have heard my sometimes funny, often not so amusing, tale of moving to Florida. Eight years ago I sold my Massachusetts house -- it was a home I loved. I had created a nest that was decorated just the way I wanted it and I had enjoyed almost 10 years there. However, I was really tired of New England winters and I felt like the community around me wasn't quite what I wanted and too far from a more urban setting. Part of me didn't want to move at all and another part (the louder voice) said, "Go for it!".
I chose Florida as a place to start because I had very good friends there and it was just a trip down the east coast. In the back of my mind, I wasn't sure that I would stay there long-term and I thought about eventually researching the Southwest as well as California. Every fiber in my intuitive center told me to rent a condo on the beach and see how it went. Directed by my ego though, my thought process (not nearly as reliable as my "gut) talked me into buying a house in a questionable neighborhood -- with the reassurance that it was in transition and "up and coming".
The moment my feet settled inside my beautiful new home (it really was lovely and played
into the seduction), I knew I had made a mistake. Everything felt wrong about it. During the first year I ended up living in the house sporadically, was robbed, and became increasingly miserable with my decision. When the house proved to be "un-sellable", but with the promise of property values increasing, I decided to rent it for a couple of years until I could move it along and get some of my money back. The Universe apparently wanted me to acknowledge just how far I had strayed from listening to my wise inner voice because I ended up with the tenant from hell. When I finally sold the property, I had to pay someone to take it off my hands.
Since that period of my life, I've sometimes joked (in a not so funny way) that I have a little PTSD and that I cringe whenever someone mentions Florida. It wasn't one of my finest moments, yet occasionally when someone asks me if I feel like I made a big mistake, I have to say, "No".
This week's Pleasure Peek was a beautiful quote from Nelson Mandela:
"I never lose.
I either win or learn."
I could easily say I lost a lot during those 2+ years in The Sunshine State and it would be true, however it would not be helpful. It would leave me feeling stupid, sad, regretful, and questioning myself on so many levels. It would probably keep me stuck and that's the last place where I want to be.
I can't really say I won much, but I can definitely say I learned a lot and that, in itself, can be a win!
Since this experience I've educated myself on real estate. The next time I buy a home, I will have way more info and requirements to check off before I blindly go forward. I would like to think I would not be swayed by a pretty pool.
I also have been considering looking for a multi-family property and I know exactly how I would go about choosing tenants and what my lease would include.
My instincts are trustworthy and serve me well. It is not a good idea to ignore them.
Florida is a wonderful place to visit in the middle of a cold, snowy winter ... for about a month. There are also other locations with warmer temps and sunshine, not only in the U.S., but throughout the world.
These are not universal truths. What we learn doesn't have to be for everyone; they are what's true for me. They help me feel like a winner, they enrich my life and they help me move forward.
As you review this past year (or, years), I hope you find learning points and wins. Sometimes the situations that seem like they would have none, actually have the most.