Picking up my commission check at the office, I looked at the amount in the upper righthand corner, and thought, Oh, the things I can now buy. Where else can you get paid so much for one transaction? Placing it in my wallet, I headed for the bank to deposit it. But along the way, I had a second thought. Perhaps it’s time I made peace with my job.
In 2001, I found myself forty-nine and single. When I was a young woman, I knew life would throw a million curve balls in my face, but not this. Back then, I decided I’d sell my soul before I’d get divorced. But there I was.
Through the pain, feeling of rejection, and fear of how I’d keep it all together, it became evident after twenty-five years of being a stay-at-home mom that I was going to have to get a job. And, at my age, what in the hell was I to do?
Long ago, before a husband and children, I worked in real estate. Not selling, but behind the scenes. I decided to go back to what I once knew. Still having my son at home, it became painfully clear that a teenage boy—especially an angry one—can get into a lot of trouble from 2:30-6:00 p.m. when parents are at work. To allow me flexibility and to keep him out of harm’s way, I decided to try residential sales. And, for twelve years, I struggled.
I grappled with nasty clients and deals that fell through. I strained with juggling my money until another commission check appeared, and I wrestled with the changing economy, especially the Great Recession. How I grew to hate my job. So much so, in 2015, I took a break to sell real estate at a senior retirement community. Having a regular paycheck was an anomaly in my checking account and something I hadn’t received since my post-college days.
But as I got lost in the 9-5 (actually 8-6), I found I no longer wrote, worked on creative projects, took care of my body with exercise, or saw friends. By the end of the day, all I wanted was my bed. Weekends were filled with errands and more sleep. A year later, I wanted my old life back.
Sometimes, when we’re in the throes of what feels unpleasant, it’s easy to overlook and negate any positive aspects. I know I did. I whined and moaned over the unfairness of my world. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning, and said, “Oh goodie! I think I’ll sell real estate.” I felt thrown into it because it was the only thing that made sense.
But going back to my office, I immediately began to see my real estate career as an actual gift. While it can get nerve-racking wondering where the next deal will come from, being an independent contractor allowed me the freedom to pursue so many other aspects of my life—the freedom to be there for my son, my mother in her dying days, and the last nine years of Dad’s life. I wouldn’t have been able to teach dance, travel to see my kids on a moment’s whim, or run to Tahoe for solitude and writing. I also made lifelong friends with many of my clients.
It was because of this profession I thought I hated that I was allowed to continue to pursue my passions. Interestingly, the job never changed; I did. There was a shift deep within that helped me to appreciate the blessing it truly was. And with this shift came a new sense of peace.
I’ve read that peace is the absence of conflict, be it external or internal. For me, it goes much deeper. Peace comes in my life when working through the chatter that often plagues my mind of who I am, or not, and my placement in this world. If I can work constructively to make a change for acceptance, I find a softness in my mind and heart, plus the ability to see past any angst straight to the good.
By working through my feelings of anger over my life’s situation, I finally came to see that real estate was actually the best career I could have ever asked for.
Today, I smile when I know I’m going to the office, meeting a new client, or spending a long Saturday and Sunday afternoon at an open house, for I’ve been blessed with a balanced life both professionally and personally And when there’s balance, there’s no greater win-win situation.
Where do you find peace in your life? I’d love to hear.