I thought my journey Home would be over by now.
I thought I had found Home. Twice!
I thought that by now I’d be telling you that I found my place, and that my move is tidily arranged, and that I have it done, on time.
I thought so twice. But no, not yet, I’m still on the journey. Oy. I am tired. And I worked so hard.
By last week, I was down to five options — and none of them were “just right.” I know I sound like a diva Goldilocks, but I promise you I was merrily lowering my standards every day, and being as open as I could possibly be to new ideas and arrangements.
There are circumstances that made my search challenging:
- Rental housing prices in the Bay Area are at least 25% higher than they were when I last moved in Summer 2015.
- I decided to be prudent, and to confine my search so I would pay less than I had been paying for rent; this decision narrowed my options considerably.
I followed three paths at once:
- Finding a place of my own. All I could find that was decent and felt safe were tiny houses (a 1984 Toyota camper van and a 350 sq ft tiny house with no additional storage — I considered these hard).
- Teaming up with someone else and taking a place together. I tried this with two different women, and after three weeks of searching, nothing came through for us.
- Renting an inlaw or going in to an existing housemate/room-for-rent situation. This began to feel like the most likely option, even counting the high number of non-responses to my inquiries that I think stem from me being older than most of the house-sharing population around here.
I called a council of friends and loved ones and discussed the five options with them, and narrowed them down to two.
- Eliminated: The house 35 miles away with plenty of space, a great kitchen, but I’d be home working with two dogs that are not so manageable.
- Eliminated: Sharing a house with a woman and her 8-y-o son with not enough space for my workstation.
- Eliminated: Moving into San Francisco into a 7-person commune because parking would be challenging and I still have a car.
After eliminating the first three, I was left with two inlaw units. Inlaws (aka ohanas in Hawaii) are variations of basement apartments. Each of which was offered by a single woman my age, a common practice in this area to help offset high housing costs. Over the last week I agreed to one, wrote a deposit check, realized it wasn’t right, and backed out. And now I’m doing that again with the other one.
I agreed to two situations that turned out not to be right for me.
I think I was getting desperate.
Here’s what I noticed about myself: I bring a big fat open heart to each possibility. I try to visualize myself in the space, thriving, being nurtured, safe, and healthy. I was able to do that with each of these places, but I also found out a very important thing: Once the mental visualizing is over, my gut kicks in. And tells me things that I was ignoring at first, like: No room for an end table next to your bed! No room for your shoes. Or: How can you feel safe when there will be work crews tromping through here for months?
The first inlaw I agreed to take is lovely, but the very limited amount of storage and the kitchen/bath share deterred me. The second one I chose is under construction and will be for some unclear number of months. I realized yesterday that it didn’t feel safe, and that the timing isn’t right. I realized that I’d be like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz — with my computer tucked away over here(!), and my kitchen stuff tucked away over there(!), and with no walls between me and the crawlspace for some unclear number of months. Yeah, no. I snapped out of my delusions and realized I couldn’t do the second one either.
- I need (crave, want, deserve!) a place where I can do my badass work in the world, and plan the next (hopefully last) move.
- The new Magnolias West world headquarters needs to be safe, clean, and peaceful.
- I need to be able to nourish myself, take care of my body, and do my creative work, my client work, and identify all the lower-cost housing options I can find.
Yesterday I drove 35 miles in a different direction and visited a house share in a town called Petaluma. Sonoma County. Rolling hills (green now, but will go brown like all the best California hills in the summertime). It’s a share with the homeowner, who has been doing this housemate thing for eight years since her kids grew up and moved out. I will take it, if only she offers it, and she will let me know hopefully by tomorrow.
Because now I have to change everything — move date, movers, internet service, all this has to be modified this week. Depending on the Petaluma outcome.
As it says on my painted rock and the prayer it’s sitting on: Blessings to all who feel uncertain. Home. House. Hearth. Health. Happiness. I am grateful in advance for my next home. And now, please, Goddess, Universe, Source, Shekhinah, bring it!!