I had just pulled out of my driveway this morning when I noticed a woman and child walking toward their car in our parking lot. I stopped and lowered my window. Can I help you? I asked.
I was hoping to find someone, but I must be too early.
The office doesn’t open for another half hour, but maybe I can help you. I live here, and sometimes they let me help out in the sales office. It’s hot out here. Shall we go inside and get you some information?
Thanks, she said. That would be great.
As we chatted about the various models and her housing needs, she asked how long I had lived here.
Almost three years, I told her. “Wait, what’s today’s date? It’s Aug. 30, isn’t it?” She nodded.
“I signed the contract to buy my home exactly three years ago today.”
Then Kathy arrived and took over. I left, pondering all that has happened in those three years. I’ve tried to condense a jumble of thoughts and memories into this one list.
The Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned at Maples at the Sonatas
5. Decorating is more fun than I realized, and I’m not as bad at it as I feared. If you had told me three years ago that I would spend three years decorating my new home, I wouldn’t have believed you. I didn’t fully realize until I got here that upsizing my home—rather than downsizing, as my neighbors did—would create so many opportunities for creativity. Adding furniture, accessories, accent colors, area rugs—it has all been fun, though expensive.
4. More responsibility is not necessarily a bad thing. If you had told me three years ago that today I would be trying to sell a home here, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had told me that I would be serving as our community’s resident trustee, I wouldn’t have believed that either. I fell into both roles and, most of the time, that’s a good thing. Both are challenging and rewarding; both have taught me a lot.
3. A person can never have too many friends. If you had told me three years ago that I needed more friends, I wouldn’t have believed you. I wrote about the joyous surprise of building friendships with my neighbors in this post. It turns out that the ties that bind are made of elastic. My circle of friends keeps stretching.
(tied for first place)
1. Do not fear change. The words are so easy to type and so hard to live out. But looking back, the one constant in my time here has been change, or, to use its other name, growth. The physical growth of our neighborhood has been astounding, much more than I ever anticipated. As the construction gates moved back time and again, more houses and more residents have become a way of life. From the little things, like wearing name tags at our social events, to the big things, like the new quad going up next door to me, I try to make my peace with it all. Sometimes, I am even able to embrace it.
1. Try not to take things for granted. Again, the words are much easier to type than to live out. But I keep trying to acquire a habit of gratitude. I realize that I have stumbled into a very special place to live and very special people to share it with. It is all much more than I deserve. And for that, I am grateful, especially today.