When my house sold, I no longer had to live within the boundaries of a home staged for showings. I could finally spread out, enjoy my space and not obsessively pick up crumbs before they hit the floor.
It was finally time to go back to “normal” life and to start preparing for the move to our home in the country.
The drive to my cat’s hotel was an opportunity to reflect on the emotional ups and downs of the process and the huge milestones that were behind us.
It was also an opportunity to “high-5” myself, psychologically speaking. The nervousness and the anxiety I felt before we put in the offer on our future home was off the charts, and rightfully so. It’s not like we buy or sell houses every day. The last time I did this was 19 years ago, and much has changed in the industry in that time.
For someone who likes to be organized and whose pride wanted his home to show as well as possible, there was indeed a lot of work required to be prepared and to do it right.
But the reassurance from my real estate agent that this could all be accomplished within reasonable time frames was the antidote to my nervousness and the encouragement to face my fears.
Just the same, I was guarded as I knew that once the train left the station, there wouldn’t be much opportunity to slow down until we were comfortably seated in our new home with the cat purring contentedly in my lap… in about 3 months. This period also came with Julie Chen’s Big Brother voice permanently in my subconscious saying “Expect the unexpected” at least a few times per day, just to keep me on my toes.
That was when I put into practice what I know works best for me: I made a list… several lists, actually. I broke down the large tasks of buying and selling into smaller sub-steps, laid out in chronological order, and scratched items off the list as I completed them.
This method works for me because I am not looking at a mountain of activity as one large unmanageable obstacle. I seem better able to wrap my head around many small tasks and to accomplish a few each day with steady and consistent action. If I don’t, that is when the racing thoughts can take over and rob me of valuable sleep.
Another element to trying to remain composed through it all was laying appropriate boundaries around my worry, and not letting a 5 minute task occupy an hour’s worth of head space. It sounds obvious, but sometimes the “what ifs” can get the best of me. It’s just part of my professional programming and a reflex to be prepared for any eventuality. Shutting it off can be a challenge sometimes.
This major life event was the ultimate test of my “list method”, and it seemed to work, even though it wasn’t without its share of smaller-scale freaking out moments anyway.
I was pleased that the humour in some of the situations encountered along the way was not lost on me, even when I accidentally locked myself in my own powder room while changing the doorknob.
Of course, I couldn’t have made it through without the moral support of family, friends and colleagues, the expertise of the professionals we hired at critical decision points, and of course, the best partner in the world.
It really was cause for celebration to be on the other side of the mountain, to resume a new normal and to start the countdown to the big move.
When I brought Ivy the Wonder Cat home, her standard operating procedure for rediscovering her surroundings was pretty much the same as any other time I brought her home from her cat hotel. She walked around the entire house a few times, sniffing every step of the way. She located her food, her litter box and her sleeping quarters, which all seemed to meet with her approval. Before I knew it, she was pretty much back on track and in her usual routine.
However with the dawn of COVID-19, it appeared that the rest of the process of preparing for the big move would be anything but normal. With stay-at-home advisories, social distancing and lockdown procedures, was it going to be business as usual for the big move? How long would these measures be in place?
Fortunately many of the services required to prepare were deemed essential by the province, much to my relief, including booking movers for our closing date.
I was also able to purchase a huge stack of boxes and packing supplies with the intention of using free time constructively, and to get as much packing completed in the time that we were told to stay home.
Nevertheless, the realization that the biggest steps, the buying and selling, were well behind us brought huge pride and gratitude. Unfortunately, under this new normal, the celebration of these milestones would have to wait a little.
To return to Episode 7 of the Housing Market Roller Coaster, click here.
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