Authentic Exhaustion

Last night I commented to my wife, Amy, “I wonder if I will get to see June this year.”

Real Estate, like so many other industries, is in the midst of transformation. I often write about how buyers’ desires are changing, how builders need to adapt, how sellers need to consider these changes. Previously, I obsessed over how real estate brokerages could and should adapt to this new climate. I got sick of complaining and joined the vanguard.

But there is a new tyranny that I don’t have answers to. It’s exhaustion. I see a therapist from time to time, and I brought up with her a month ago how I am always in the throes of other individual’s crises. She basically annihilated my theology declaring that I make things about good and bad and not about life and death and pointed out – helpfully – how ill-equipped I am to be sucked into the vortex of other people’s “stuff.”

Why I mention that is because I start emailing around 6 in the morning each day. It’s a bad habit, but I wake up, check my phone, and start replying. I usually make my last check around 9 or 10 at night. This year, the market started to pick up pace the last week of February. I’ve been going solid every day since. The one day that I didn’t do at least a couple hour’s work since that time was Easter. This includes our four-day mini-vacation to Glenwood over Spring Break. This is my tax-season.

But unlike CPA’s hammering out returns, I get to deal in the objective world of material facts and the subjective world of personal motivation. A great deal of business I am transacting right now is the by-product of what I call “the put-off inevitables”… Divorce. New jobs. Commutes that kill. Sour tastes in one’s mouth. There are stated goals:

  • “we need to sell this house by July”
  • “we need four bedrooms up”
  • “Sigh… my mother-in-law is moving in”

There are the unstated realities:

  • “We are crippled by fear”
  • “The emotional cost of this move is killing us”
  • “I am upside down $100K and my boss is making me move to keep my job”

It’s a difficult place to be. I live in a mysterious decade, a 35 year old white male in suburban middle America, in an industry that has been in a five-year downturn. I plod off to work at a time in my life when many young males start “building their empire” and announcing their legacy to the rest of the masses, and as an entrepreneur, the temptation to achieve my own manifest destiny is there every single hour of every day. Yet I am also surrounded by the joys, trials and foibles of fatherhood, of trying to scratch open two hours every other week in my calendar to date my hot wife, of inferences whispered into my past, and some others that were proclaimed to my face at regular volume.

What I’ve learned this year sounds like a litany of “hates” but is really a desire for greater authenticity in the midst of daily turmoil. I have learned that I hate lists. I hate writing down all the little things I have to accomplish each day. I hate the ones that don’t get crossed off. I’ve never had a list 100% complete. I hate obligatory songs and dances. I hate other people’s financial voodoo, the deep sadness of showing short-sales, another agent celebrating a sale of their own property that cost some bank $200,000 or more, and you and I greater regulation and tighter lending restrictions. That was a fun elevator ride. It was like a scene from Borat… “High five!” At the same time, I love revelatory statements. I love it when a client makes a statement about a house that is literally 6000 square feet of chachki in 3300 square feet of house, “oh, she’s feeling the pain of it.” I love it when people think without thinking, and just arrive at decisions. I love it when my middle child, the prophetic 5 year-old Isaiah says to me “Dad… you’re complicated.”

Most June’s come and go in a blink. I promised two months ago to update readers on the streams of Colorado. I still don’t have a 2011 fishing license. It’s on my list of things to do…

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