Until last month, I had been suffering from a major and drawn out ‘episode’ of severe depression. Episode seems too short a descriptive. It was like a box set, that just went on and on and on, with each season bringing absolutely no change and nothing new.
Consequently, celebrating has not been on the agenda, however much a small voice inside has begged and pleaded to know why the indefinable ‘magic’ of the universe and being alive, just wasn’t there anymore for me. Persuading myself to go outside in spring/summer? No enjoyment of seasons at all. Finished a gruelling task? Emotionally … nothing, zip. No satisfaction whatsoever. Birthdays? Nothing. Apart from more disappointment that I am older still, and still ill. Easter? I did not even notice it last year – did it happen? Christmas? For two years, it just didn’t come ‘feeling-wise’ for me. Btw I actually really love Christmas, and am normally a person who feels the ‘magic’ building from Autumn on. I love the songs, movies, wrapping presents, trees and foliage, and all the decorations!
My spirits lifted quite quickly at the end of February, and I have been tentatively stepping forward since then. Trying to make progress, but not too fast. Fast is dangerous for me, as I can swing from depressed to manic, which then becomes very intense for everyone else.
This weekend has been a bit of marker in my recovery. The follow events are the big milestones that happened.
On Good Friday, I handed over my rental property to new tenants and that has gone very smoothly so far. They seem lovely, and also capable.
In the last week, I have been slowly reconnecting with the friends from whom I have basically been ‘distancing’ myself from since I fell ill. We had a group Zoom call on Saturday, which was really fun, and has also left me with a kind of warm fuzzy feeling that is still present. I think its called ‘re-connection’!
On Easter Sunday, I spent a few hours being ‘crafty’. Painting eggs for an Easter tree is something my sister and I used to do as kids, and only occasionally since. It has been ‘work’, but overall incredibly satisfying as its creative, produces an end result, sense of achievement and also is very festive. My home feels cosy, loved, and very Easter-y.
I am not sure of my plans for Easter Monday, but, I can guarantee I will be Staying at Home. Probably taking it easy and pottering around the house and garden. Watching a bit of TV or a film maybe. Or reading stuff on WordPress, and (a limited amount of) scrolling on social media.
All I can say, again, is how incredibly grateful I am for everything. All the above events, my friends, my family, my houses, my cat, the technology that connects people at this strange time, and of course my returning health.
My heart feels very full of love and happiness this Easter. I would like to ‘beam’ this love out to everyone I know and anyone reading, especially those that may be in need of it!
As the landlady, I have found that handing over the keys to a new tenant has often been an emotional occasion for me. Let me clarify, I do not break down in tears in front of my new tenants, nor do I suggest cracking open a bottle and celebrating the handover together right there and then!
It is more that there are always three phases to any tenant change:
The Build-up Varying in duration and emotional intensity, the build up is the time between tenants. A clearing away of the old, and readying both oneself and the property for something new. It’s like the pressing ‘Reset’ button, but more exhausting, as the house doesn’t simply revert back to how it was at the start. It can be a high energy and exhausting time, from assessing any damage to deciding how far to go in the quest to ensure perfection is restored. For me, the emotion chain often goes something like this: Shock – Your existing tenants are leaving. Cr*p, that means there is lots of work coming up. Sadness – depending on whether you bonded with the outgoing tenants. Relief – the property is yours again temporarily, so you are beholden to nobody and can relax on the ‘landlady’ front, for as long as it takes to re-let. You are once more a property owner / developer. Frustration – Hmm, old tenants didn’t leave the property quite how you would’ve hoped. Fear – Will anyone ever want to rent this place again, and will they pay the asking rent? Resolve – When you realise there is work to be done, and you must get on with it, because you like having rent come in more then you like spending money on renovations! Compromise – How far are you going to go to restore the property to its ‘best-self’? What actually needs doing, and what is just vanity and window dressing. Motivation – New tenant found and accepted. There is now a deadline for the above activity! Discipline – Much like when handing in a piece of school work or an assignment; is the work you do going to be paced? Or, is it going to be one massive ball of stress as you edge toward the due date and find that it is going to be a last minute scramble to get the jobs done? If you go with the latter, there could be long days and late nights ahead, fuelled by coffee and Diet Coke.
The Moment of Transfer In my last post I compared my houses to babies. That was probably pretty inappropriate – Obviously, I would not hand over or rent out a child of mine! The handover is more like handing in an essay at uni, or assignment at work that you have put blood, sweat, tears, and a little piece of your soul into. When the keys are given, there is nothing more you can do – certainly in terms of establishing the first footing with the tenant. It’s basically judgement day. ‘Will they think I’ve done enough?’ ‘Do I think I’ve done enough?’ ‘Is there anything I forgot to do?’ None of the above matters, there is nothing you can do now! So relax, if you can. Tip: It is much easier if the answer to the second question is an assured ‘Yes, you have‘.
The (somewhat unknown) Aftermath There is not too much to say about what happens after the handover, it is basically the future. Will the new tenants be good? Will there be any ‘snags’ to sort out? (*gulp – I hate snags) What type of tenants will they be – Attentive, Laid back, Demanding? How long will they stay? Etc The answer to all of the above is ‘Who knows’? One just has to hope for a bit of luck really.
The Landlords Prayer
Dear Agent, who art in office. Thank you this day for my brand new tenant. May they be happy with the house, And quite as a mouse. May they keep the house clean, As though fit for a queen. May they call me with questions, But not too often, And may they pay their rent on time, By direct debit, For ever and ever,