Wait and See

Why my daughter was one, my husband and I wanted to move to a house that would accommodate the second child we hoped to have.  Our first house was a small two-bedroom home, and the second bedroom was a little smaller than the average walk-in closest.  Our choices were limited due to our rather tiny budget, and after searching for several weeks, we were getting very discouraged.  So we were thrilled when our agent showed us a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in a suburb that had good schools and was an easy commute to my husband’s job. And best of all:  it was in our budget, because it needed work and had sat on the market for a long time with no interest, so they had just reduced the price.  We immediately put in a very strong offer and confidently waited to hear the good news that we could begin packing.

glenway-houseI was so sure that the house would be ours that when our agent called to say the sellers had already accepted another offer, I actually cried, just a little.  I had been so happy that we had finally found the perfect house for our family, with plenty of room to grow into and loads of potential for a couple (like us) who were willing to do some rehab work. Losing that house was devastating, but all we could do was keep looking, and we eventually found another fixer-upper in the same neighborhood.  It was smaller (three-bedroom, one bath), but it was in our budget and although we weren’t particularly excited about it, we decided it would do.

The first few times I drove by the house we lost, I felt a little tinge of jealousy for the people who had been lucky enough to buy it.  I wanted that extra bedroom for my home office, and that extra bathroom sure would come in handy when we had house guests.  But eventually, I became a little more knowledgeable about real estate and realized that not buying getting that house I had wanted so desperately was actually the best thing that could have happened to our family.

Being young and naive, my husband and I had been so busy counting bedrooms and bathrooms that we didn’t pay much attention to the fact that the house sat on a busy street with no sidewalks, two blocks from active train tracks on the north and two blocks from a major highway on the south.  It also had a steep asphalt driveway which would have been impossible to navigate in icy weather, and was probably slippery even in rain.  The house we ended up with may have been smaller, but it sat on a quiet street where kids could safely ride bikes, had a flat driveway, and was within walking distance to a grade school.  Yes, we had to put time and money into it, but when the time came to sell that house, we were able to make a small profit from our efforts.  That wouldn’t have happened with the house we lost.

The point of this story is that I have learned, over these many years, that sometimes what we think is a bad thing actually turns out to be a good thing.  And conversely, what we think is a good thing can turn out to be bad.  So I try very hard these days not to get too excited when I believe something good has happened, at least not right away, until I see how things play out.  Even more importantly, I try not to be too despairing when things aren’t going quite the way I wanted.  Because I can’t predict the future any better than anyone else, and sometimes the best thing to do is simply wait and see.

60 thoughts on “Wait and See

  1. you are so right – I have had many of those types of experiences in my life – when I was devastated that something didn’t turn out how I wanted – and then other things happened so much better that never could have if the first think I wanted happened. 🙂

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post Ann!

    An old Garth Brooks song was playing in my head as I read. One I hadn’t heard in years. “Unanswered Prayers.” Sure, this song is about missing out on finding the perfect woman, only to discover the real perfect woman in the end, but the theme strikes a similar chord (see what I did there 😉 ).

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  3. We lived your exact same house buying experience a year and a half ago and I had these exact same thoughts in hindsight. These experiences are definitely one of life’s little treasures, because it’s good for the body, mind, and soul to find a positive in what was originally thought of as a negative!

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  4. This is such great advice and with a great example. It’s only been as I get older that I’ve realized the importance of “wait and see.” Somehow as we age, we’re better equipped with perspective, to see later that the low became the high, or vice versa. I forget the exact words, but there’s a saying that goes something like this: the situation we find ourselves in, what we see as the worst possible situation, could turn out to be exactly what we need or can use at that time. The thing about that situation I fight the most is exactly what I need to focus on. I guess that’s where I need the most work. 😉

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    • Honestly, I didn’t draw the connection until I wrote it, but then I thought, “what the heck?It is relevant,” and hit post. I don’t have any confidence in this particular president, but I also know that sometimes good can come out of what we think is bad. Not always in the way we had in mind, but sometimes through the the back door, so to speak. If nothing else, it has makes us think long and hard about what we believe, and why.

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      • ‘Every cloud’ . . . etc. Agreed, and I very much accord with that myself, Ann. And whilst understandably you may not wish to get drawn on the current political scene, then it may just be that the election result acts as a salutary lesson to the Democrat Party in that their clinging to establishment interests and cosying up to Wall Street ways, their protecting their own jobs even at the cost of backing the right leader for your nation, these now failed and discredited approaches must surely be over. We just have to hope not too much damage is done in the areas of social rights and the environment in the meantime. Frankly, I can’t see Trump lasting very long at all – a passing dark cloud.

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        • I think, if nothing else, this election will actually be a wake up call to both parties to stop trotting out the same old, same old, each election. I think that the main appeal of Trump was that he was seen as a political outsider, and lots of people were done with politics as usual. But that’s just my observation, and I learned long ago that it’s not a good thing to try to guess what motivates anyone!

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  5. “The point of this story is that I have learned, over these many years, that sometimes what we think is a bad thing actually turns out to be a good thing.” I quote from your post because your conclusion and its converse contain a lot of wisdom in a nutshell. My wife and I had made the same experiences in many similar situations. I hope that many followers will read your post and take stock of their own experiences. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Well said Ann. Life is interesting isn’t it? I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, just like that house that you didn’t get. Perhaps someone up there was looking out for you.

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  7. Holly and I had a similar experience buying our first home where a house we wanted was off the market by the time we were ready to make an offer. The house we ended up in was on a similarly quiet street, flat, and very safe for our kids to play and prosper. It was also just a block from their school so they could walk to it. We obviously can’t know how our lives would have turned out had we got the first house we wanted but I think fate had a hand in taking us to where we ended up. Our next door neighbors became our best friends over the years, we vacationed together, our daughters were babies and grew up together. Our friends, now after 25 years are more like family and also moved to the mountains within weeks of us. Fate. And a good example of what and see.
    Cheers!

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    • It wasn’t actually my intention when I sat down to write it, but I did think of it when I was done, and actually hesitated before I hit publish for fear of starting a big political argument. But I decided that it was pertinent and trusted my readers more than that. And now I realize that the election was probably at the back of my mind when I came up with the idea of this post!

      As for Trump, I didn’t vote for him and don’t have confidence in his presidency, but I also feel that some good can still come out of it. Exhibit A would be the women’s marches yesterday. Women have been victimized and objectified for years, and if a Trump win was what it rook for them to stand up and say “enough” then I count that as a good thing. Thanks for the insightful comment!

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  8. Very sage advice, Ann! My husband and I had a similar experience in that an offer we put on a house fell through. A year later we found our current house which is SO much better than that one. Not only does it have more space, better bones, more character and a much nicer yard, it has a huge detached three car garage for my husband who works on cars for a living. And it was only about $15,000 more than the other house, which didn’t even have a garage. I really believe things work out for the best. Sometimes we think we want something so bad that we have blinders on.

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    • You’re right, we were so thrilled with the size of the house that we weren’t seeing the red flags at all! And from then on, I always made sure we had an agent who was willing to point out the negatives as well as the positives of a house we were looking at. But the biggest lesson I learned was not to be so quick to be devastes just because something didn’t go the way I planned. Glad you got the house you really wanted as well!

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  9. I think we have all been there at some point in our lives if we take the time to think back about what if. Patience is not something many of us are good at but it generally pays off in the end.
    I laughed at the reference by 2ndhalf about this sounding subliminally political. Everyone is so sensitive these days about saying the right thing. Pretty funny.
    BTW…loved that photo. 😊

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    • Patience isn’t of my strong suits, either! And I wish I had taken a photo of the house when I got tired of waiting for my husband to agree to help me paint the outside. (He was working on the house, but wanted to finish some inside projects before tackling the outside.) One day I couldn’t wait any longer, and when my daughter went down for her nap, I got the paint out and painted the whole front of the house, as far up as I could reach. My hubby came home, took one look at our rust and blue-grey striped house and started painting the rest. I may not be patient, but at least I was smart enough to marry a man who was patient with me!

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  10. I remember when my husband and I bought our first house together. The house was already painted,so I didn’t have to wait on Jerry. Good story Ann. Say,how do you find you on FB? I have been trying to send a friend request. have a good evening.

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  11. I guess it’s a wise move to wait for a bit to see how things play out. I had a problem with a misplaced application document at my university many years ago. It seemed like a disaster at the time, but it led–in a very convoluted and impossible to foresee way–to my meeting and marrying my wife.

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  12. Wait and see is so hard to do sometimes, but it is such good advice. The older I get, the more wisdom I see in the wait approach, but when you’re raising kids, you’re up against the other side! Great post.

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  13. I think it’s only when we reach a certain age that we’re able to learn this lesson. But so many times in my life, I’ve realized (after the fact) that something that didn’t work out, didn’t work out for a reason. Some of the ‘worse’ things that have happened in my life, turned me toward a ‘much better’ thing soon after. We need to be patient, of course. And we need to learn not to whine, but to wait and see the reason for not getting ‘exactly’ what we think we wanted/needed. A wise post, indeed, Ann.

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  14. Pingback: Wait and See – Great read! | David Hochfelder

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