Dictionary.com describes an era as a period of time marked by a distinctive character or event; the period of time to which anything belongs or is to be assigned; a system of chronologic notation reckoned from a given date; a point of time from which succeeding years are numbered (such as at the beginning of a system of chronology); or a date or an event forming the beginning of any distinctive period.
I often associate eras with the last definition; an event forming the beginning of a distinctive period. The year 2005 marked the beginning of an important era in my life; and an era that ended on January 31, 2012. That era was becoming a homeowner and boy did I have an independent streak running through me during this time in my life. I was at a point in my life – and irritated with a relationship – that I decided I didn’t need a man to buy a house, nor a ring on my finger, or anyone! I could buy my own house and create my own home. This was true independence, a scary independence, but I went forth and did what I wanted to, didn’t care what the results would be and what people would say.
Although I still remember (and will never forget) the comment, “What do you mean you’re buying a home, you do that when you’re married and with a husband.” There is almost no comment worse than that, which will push a stubborn woman even closer to independence.
In 2005, home prices were soaring and I truly felt that it was the time for me to buy a home. I didn’t know what my future held for me, but I knew that I could afford it, I would enjoy it, and I would show that guy (whom I was awaiting a marriage proposal from) that I wouldn’t be sitting around forever.
I was so excited when I received the phone call on July 15, 2005 that my offer for a lovely one bedroom condo in Alexandria, VA was accepted. Oh my gosh, it had a washer and dryer in unit, a dishwasher AND a parking space that I didn’t have to pay extra for; I could finally stop hauling laundry all over the place! In a big city, these things are a major plus! I closed on the condo in August and had a painting party with several girlfriends to paint my living room, kitchen, and bedroom that very night. It was mine, ALL mine.
As the years went by, I enjoyed two years of living in the condo and I finally rented out the condo in 2008. My first tenant was my very good friend Mary, next was a guy who I would strangle today if I saw him, and finally to great tenants and now friends, Sara and Dave. When my last tenants left in June of 2011, the rental market had shifted in the D.C. area and I could not find a renter anywhere near what I needed to afford the condo. And boy was I underwater due to a couple of recessions!
Ultimately after several days of thinking, praying, and several discussions with various people, I decided it would be best to put my condo on the market, knowing it would be a short sale. I was so underwater that it would be decades before I could break even or make any profit at all. I decided that I needed to cut my losses and sell. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life. I pride myself on paying bills on time, keeping low or no debt and having a fantastic credit score. I knew all of that would sway to deal with selling the condo.
After four contracts, many discussions with my real estate team, lawyers, and the mortgage companies, my condo finally closed on January 31, 2012. It isn’t until now, at this moment, that I am shedding a tear over this condo, which is a shock to me. It has been the biggest pain in my butt for a few years, but after sitting and thinking about not just the condo, but everything that has happened in life since the beginning of that era, it is hard not to shed a few tears over the end of an era that brought many laughs, tears, drunken nights, and a great learning experience and education about life.