Three weeks ago, we started looking for a new place to live. It feels more like three months ago. All of our stuff is in a portable storage pod waiting to be delivered to our new house, when we find a new house.
I’ve had to learn to adjust to the situation, to change my expectations, to continue living normal life. And it has been hard for me.
Part of the difficulty is that I have a single track mind. I cannot do more than one thing at the same time. I am most assuredly not a multi-tasker. In college, Amanda was miraculously able to put on a movie and then do homework while watching the movie. On the other end of the spectrum, I can’t even listen to music with lyrics if I am trying to write (for writing tasks, I usually switch to piano or violin recordings).
In college and through most of my Master’s, I wrote each paper in a single session. I may have done planning in advance, but the actual typing occurred all at once. This served me well until I had to write my thesis. But, even with my thesis, I wrote each chapter in a single bound. And, while I was writing, I could not focus on other concerns, like eating.
I have always been this way. When I was growing up, my parents never allowed me or my siblings to partake of any kind of entertainment until all of our homework and chores were done. So, I always systematically began with chore number one on the list and plowed through them in order. I do that even now, sometimes even eating my food is a systematic order.
Let’s just say that I get a bit stressed out when I cannot finish a task–when solving a problem or finishing a job is outside of my immediate control. Like, say, finding a new place to live.
* * *
I’m not sure how many houses we have toured, but it’s probably close to ten, and that’s not counting the ones we have driven by and nixed on sight, or the dozens and dozens we have found online and then discarded for one reason or another.
There have been four houses that we have been interested enough in to apply for but, so far, our application has only been accepted by one lonely house. To be fair, the other three didn’t reject us, they just got to other people first. In the renting business, it’s pretty much a first come, first serve kind of thing, so long as you meet the minimum requirements.
And the one lonely house that made us an offer? We said no because, after doing some research, we decided that third-hand smoke (it was actually very clean and refurbished inside, but the smell lingered) was no good for our new baby coming in six months.
We are forcing ourselves to take our time, to be picky, to look carefully. But it is maddening to me.
* * *
I am learning how to live life with a question mark next to “place to live.” For instance, I spent the first week using all of my free time to look for places to live. In the meantime, I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t eat much. I didn’t do much reading. I didn’t really write. I just sort of anxiously slept and spun my wheels.
And then I realized that I needed to incorporate this search into my everyday life rather than allow the search to become my life. We have a place to live until we find a place of our own (so thankful for my in-laws). We are not homeless, just between houses. We still have all of our same resources, all of our same friends, all of our same desires and goals.
And we are looking for a new house.
* * *
I suppose the biggest discouragement is feeling like we aren’t making any progress. Progress usually feels like accomplishing something, a little bit at a time. This search feels like we will search and search and search and search and, one day, get lucky.
But we have made progress. We have an excellent idea of what we are looking for (we didn’t when we started). We know what questions to ask. We know how the system works. We know where we should look, and where we shouldn’t. We are getting to know the various property management companies, figuring out which ones we like and which ones to avoid.
* * *
But even if we weren’t making progress, I would still be learning how to be at peace. Peace, like simplicity, is a condition and not a context. It is found in faith and trust and relationships, not in success.
We are the same people we were three weeks ago, only now we are looking for a house.
And that, right now, is plenty.