I haven't "blogged" or even tried for so long because it's 2017, and there is so much going on that I simply gave up. HOWEVER: there have been huge changes in my life. Specifically, I bought my first home, and completed my first home renovation project (kitchen)!
Both were such new, challenging and demanding experiences that they effectively absorbed all my mental and emotional resources. I felt a lot of guilt about neglecting so many friends and family members during the process, but I'm also too practical (and selfish and self-preserving) that I don't believe there was any other way to deal with it. Nowadays I'm dying for people to ask about the experience, but I'm also aware of having been so privileged that there aren't many people you can complain to without sounding like you're humblebragging... so I try not to bring it up. :\
I went through a period of reflection where I really wanted to change my life — move upstate, abandon my career, or at least change things in some way which wasn't marriage or having children. After weighing all the options, my father talked me out of trying to buy a house upstate, in favor of around the city. It would be a better long-term investment, which I couldn't argue with. I had a fantastic agent referred by friends who had bought recently, and then spent every weekend for six months (and sometimes weekdays) visiting every single open house in Brooklyn in my price range. Buying in New York is a stressful, anxiety-filled experience. I made an offer on a place and lost it; I wrote "love letters"; I begged friends to write me character references; I may have made threats I had no intention of following through on. I probably insulted people I like. I hired an attorney, selected a bank, had no fewer than four mortgage consultants. It was all extremely adult, and a very enlightening experience in so many ways.
My biggest piece of advice would be: TRUST NOBODY. Read EVERYTHING. Follow up. Hassle your lawyers, inspector, agent, or whoever, in order to get the answers you need. No one is really "working for you", regardless of how much money you are paying them. They are working for themselves – which, more power to them – is fine, till someone makes a mistake and is saying you are thirty thousand dollars short for something but you know you are not. For everyone else it's a job or their career, but for you it's your life. You are your only advocate in it. Which is something I learned over time in my career, and in my opinion it applies to all aspects of life. Being diplomatic can work in certain cases, unless you are compromising on a thing that will make you miserable – in which case it's better to fight to the death with all your cards out. I threatened to back out of the deal at least three times, and was completely willing to each time.
It's a process which has no benefit of progressive success. Every step has the ability to invalidate all the previous steps, so it's high-stress throughout. Then you get to move, which is a garbage thing to do no matter what else is happening. I hid in a hole mentally for a few months, recuperating and hibernating. In the spring I received a refund tax check, and decided to hit max stress level again, and renovate the 1970s kitchen.
I've never renovated in my life before. It's incredibly rewarding and painful at the same time. Sometimes I pass my kitchen door and just look at the soft LED under-cabinet lighting, the beautiful appliances and my sink and my heart gives a little sigh of satisfaction. I always thought paying thousands of dollars on appliances would be disappointing but it's anything but!
I'm slowly recovering back into my self, but am also so grateful for the new experiences that have made me wiser, tougher, and more appreciative of so many things. I think it's important for all of us to be the boss of our own lives, to spot inefficiency, opportunity and weigh risk. It's always easier to slip into a kind of catatonic complacency in life, and while pushing yourself in a new way can feel both anxiety-inducing and insurmountable, I hope to never be too cowardly to try.