In May, Chris and I wrapped up two months staying at Lake LBJ. It was such a wonderful retreat from the city, and I realize what a luxury and a blessing it was to have that option.
Chris and I moved into a 700 SF condo in 2019, a decision that made total sense in a pre-COVID world. When things started shutting down, it quickly became apparent to us that we would go crazy in that condo together, so we retreated to Lake LBJ on March 22nd, when shelter in place orders were announced. We spent a few weeks in a vacation rental with our friends Kelly and Andrea. Check out this sweet carpet!
In typical COVID fashion, there were plenty of Tiger King jokes about this leopard print.
Eventually, we joined my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins at their house on LBJ and stayed with them for the remainder of the two months.
There were a lot of things I mourned losing during COVID, and honestly now that we’re back in Austin, I’m really coming to terms with them as I settle back into the “real world.” I’m lucky that I am not mourning the loss of anyone I love, as I know many are. I am mourning other losses, which are no doubt less serious. But I’m letting myself feel them anyway.
I’m mourning the indefinite deferral of my speaking career, and in-person training programs. Two pursuits that were just getting traction but are indefinitely on pause.
I recognize the loss of some progress I made on my health and fitness. I promised myself that 2020 was going to be the year, for once in my life, when I had a six pack. I know how shallow that is, but I just wanted to prove I could do it. And I was almost there, when the gyms closed, food supply became irregular and uncertain, and my motivation flagged.
And lastly, I’m mourning the loss of the spring I thought we’d have. The business I thought I’d do, the trips I thought I’d take, the social engagements that one by one dropped off the calendar.
But even as I reflect on these losses, I see that in the place of each, I gained something.
I lost my momentum on speaking and training. But I gained a new focus on my real estate team, and what it takes to keep a business running in a crisis.
I lost some muscle and gained some flab, but I also gained a new appreciation for abundant, healthy food, my own health, and the luxury of a gym membership. You don’t know what you have until it disappears temporarily! I’ve never been so excited to return to the gym, and walk into the grocery store and go “Thank goodness, they have brown rice and chicken breast.”
I lost the spring I thought I’d have. But I gained an extended sabbatical I wouldn’t have given myself if it were just up to me. I’ve never spent so much time over such a long period thinking, reading, journaling, meditating, looking at the stars, watching the sun set, taking walks, and just being. I definitely want to figure out how to keep some of that in my weekly routine as I transition into my new normal.
What about you? What did you lose, and what did you gain during COVID?
What I’m Reading
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
I mentioned above that I did a lot of meditating during quarantine. That was thanks in large part to Athan Schindler, the owner of my crossfit gym, who invited me to be part of a group daily meditation challenge. We’re in our second round now, and we’re reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success as a group.
The daily morning practice of journaling, meditating, moving and reading has been integral to keeping me calm and sane the last few weeks.
I was vaguely familiar with Deepak Chopra, mostly by way of Oprah, but had never really explored his work. Now that I am, I love it.
One quote that particularly stuck out to me was this. “Accept the present and intend the future.”
I’ve spent so much of my life living in the future. Next week/month/year I’ll finally be thin/happy/successful/insert desire here. This was my default outlook on life for years, and I even thought it was a virtue, until at some point in my 20s I realized “This is it. You’ve lived your entire life waiting for the next thing so you can start living. And your life is happening. Right now. So when are you going to enjoy it?”
And that began my deep interest in yoga, meditation, breath work, and learning to actually be present, if only for a few minutes a week. When I first started experiencing what I can only describe as bliss in the present, I started to worry. If I learn to love the present too much, will I ever get anything done ever again? I mean, why accomplish anything?
But I did. I found myself accomplishing more. And it was a paradox for me. It’s one that I lived with for years and just considered it one of life’s many mysteries.
But this one line helped me understand this better.
“Accept the present and intend the future.”
That there’s an enormous reservoir of joy, inspiration and creativity waiting for all of us if we can learn to accept the present while forming intentions for the future. It’s so absurdly simple, and yet it’s a lifetime of work.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Race
This is a book that, I’ll admit, I would not have started if it weren’t for the tragic news, and subsequent public outcry, about George Floyd.
As the news came out, I found myself feeling at a loss for words. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to do or say nothing. I also didn’t want to make a show of doing or saying something just to make myself feel better. And I didn’t want to do or say the wrong thing.
“Why is this so uncomfortable? And why does it seem so hard to talk about?” Those were the questions I couldn’t shake.
So when I saw the title and subtitle of this book, I took a deep breath and bought it. I had a feeling I’d have a few uncomfortable realizations, and I certainly have.
I’m trying very hard not to exorcise my own guilt and discomfort by telling anyone else what to do. So I’m not telling you to go read this. I’m just telling you that I’m reading it. And that so far, I’ve found it perceptive.
The Austin Small Business Resiliency Fund
As a way to express our gratitude and pay it forward, we’re setting aside a portion of proceeds from all recent closings to go toward our Austin Small Business Resiliency Fund. So Marcia, your closing not only helped us, we’ll make sure it helps others, too!
The idea behind the Austin Small Business Resiliency Fund is to have some cash ready when we spot an opportunity to help an Austin small business in need, as the full effects of COVID continue to reverberate through our local economy. So if you know any small businesses that could use a modest cash infusion, email me at email@example.com. We’re currently on the lookout for opportunities to help.
May Contracts and Closings
Sasha and Trey | 5628 Emma Thompson
Congrats to Sasha and Trey whose home just went pending. The situation was very competitive and we ultimately picked a strong offer above asking price, after receiving over 20 offers!
We love getting multiple offers for our sellers because we know this puts them in the strongest negotiating position.
If you have questions about how to create multiple offers as a seller, send me an email!
If you have questions about how to be competitive in a multiple offer situation as a buyer, we just put together a helpful resource. Email us and we would be happy to share it!
Marcia | 11008 Twisted Elm
Congratulations to Marcia for getting her home under contract in less than a week and closing in May. Marcia is one of the clients we were so grateful for during shelter in place orders when we really weren’t sure what business would look like for us. While we’re always grateful for our clients, we found a whole new level of appreciation for clients and closings that kept us solvent during a shelter in place. Thank you, Marcia, for trusting us to help you sell you home in the strangest of times.