Hurry up and wait ….

Impatience is progress’s best friend

Daily Florence

Over the last couple of weeks, the ‘wheels’ on the pending house moves of Sarah and I have turned very slowly.

We seem locked in a sequence of queries and answers going back between our solicitors and those of the buyers of our house, with the occasional interjection of information from us. At least Sarah’s house purchase seems to have completed the Q&A stage, and ‘exchange’ can happen. But her purchase can only occur at the same time as our sale. My house purchase is not so critical, but it is also moving forward only slowly.

The sense of frustration and helplessness is not conducive to a positive atmosphere. Especially as the house looks increasingly like a storeroom as we pack things in boxes in anticipation of the move, exacerbating that sense of transition is that we have disposed of some of our furniture. Given to charity in the hope it can benefit others. Sarah and I are both downsizing in that regard. Overall, our once home is becoming a shell of a house.

This feeling of stasis is familiar from earlier house moves. Even from a once-loved home, there comes the point when you imagine yourself in the new house. You begin to look forward positively, even in these sadder circumstances of Sarah and my separation. Yet the process then begins to drag. So, when the move eventually happens, it’s more with a sense of relief than a celebration. This has undoubtedly been the case with all the house moves I’ve made over the years.

Some may think it strange that Sarah and I decided we would celebrate our move this time. A separation celebration if you like. A meal together in a favourite local restaurant. A chance to appreciate the happiness we enjoyed by being together and not dwell overly on our sadness that being together is soon to end. Despite all the current tedium of waiting, I hope that’s one thing we will still do and can always do.

I described this feeling of waiting as sitting in a vehicle with the engine idling while we waited for the lights to turn green. There’s mounting frustration that we can’t both move into first gear towards our respective futures. I’ve never been a patient person; life is too short to wait around.

It’s the feeling I recall from my business days after submitting a competitive bid. That time when the customer goes into purdah to consider the various offerings. Bidders anxiously await the forthcoming decision. A period I called, dramatically, ‘The Valley of Death’.

If possible, one attempts to shoot ‘ropes’ up from the valley floor and ‘climb’ those ropes to engage with the customer. To determine where things stand on the final decision and in which direction that decision may be leaning. And, of course, attempt to influence that decision, as necessary. The ‘ropes’ are things you’d put in the bid (or deliberately leave out) that might cause the customer to call to ask questions—that call may then allow you to discover how things might stand with your proposal.

While the two processes are not identical, they share the same frustrations. They are hands-off, with little chance to engage in open dialogue that would reach a conclusion far faster and, one might say, more beneficial to both parties. Unfortunately, in both business and house sales, we have let the monster of a remote-controlled process take over to the detriment of what people are trying to achieve.

Another sad aspect of such delay is that one increasingly falls ‘out of love’ with their present property. Once it had been the most desirable place to live, and even its ‘quirks’ were engaging. That affection has now moved to another place where one wishes to make a home. In that regard, there are some parallels with relationships. Someone’s amusing quirk can, over time, become a significant irritation.

So, Sarah and I wait. For the queries to end. Contracts to exchange. Packing to finish. And with a sense of relief, move on. Although this time, I trust we might also find a few hours for that celebration of the love that once existed.

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