Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Getting What You Want (Is Not Always What You Think You Want)

When my husband and I were looking for a house, we made a list.

I believe there is power in writing things down. It's not magic exactly, but something happens when we take our thoughts and our ideas and bring them from the ethereal into the tangible world, where they can be read and re-read and where we can decide if they make sense or not. And others can potentially see them, and maybe even get behind them too.

I thought the best way we could assure that we get exactly what we're looking for was to write down our ideas about what we both wanted, make sure we were on the same page, and then know what to look for in a house. To focus our energies on the real deal instead of wasting time on things that didn't fit our list.

Our plan at the time was to fix up an old house as a bed and breakfast, so our list went something like this:
- 4 to 5 bedrooms
- 3 to 4 bathrooms
- a mud room
- a laundry room
- a library

You know, something that (after a little work - or a lot) would look like this:

That was about 6 years ago, but I was thinking about it recently and came to a new and revelatory understanding about this list.

Our house ended up being less than 900 square feet, an open floor plan with one sleeping loft and one bathroom. No distinguished library, no mud room, no laundry room. Or, at least, that's what one might see if you looked at the tax rolls.

But, in reality, we asked for 4 to 5 bedroom; we got beds for 5. We asked for 3 to 4 bathrooms; we got a bathroom that fits 3 people at a time (yes, we've all been in there together! With a potty training toddler, it's inevitable!). We asked for a mud room; we have a space near the door to hang our coats and dry our boots. We asked for a laundry room; we have a washer and a place to do our laundry. We asked for a library; we got a beautiful bookshelf made out of reclaimed lumber, hung over our couch where we can comfortably read. We wanted a bed and breakfast; we got a post and beam shed we plan to convert into a rustic guest house.

We made a list and thought we knew what that meant. Life brought us exactly what we asked for - it just didn't look like what we expected it to.

Sometimes, success is all in your perspective.

"It's not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities." - Kristin Armstrong