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On letting go

Anyone who knows me and knows me well will probably tell you that one of my biggest character flaws is that I can be a bit of a control freak. It manifests itself in little ways, both positive and negative, but never so much as when something unpleasant and unexpected happens. Typically, I can take these types of surprises in stride, even if my insides are flipping out, but this past week, through a series of unfortunate, maddening, confusing, and anxiety inducing events, I was pushed to the limit.

Let’s back up a bit. If you follow me on Twitter, you know a little bit of what has been going on with my apartment, but the broader back story is this: I arrived home on Tuesday night, exhausted, thinking about what I needed to get done that evening, to find a letter taped to our front door. It turns out it was an eviction letter from our landlord. I was shocked — we always pay our rent on time — why would we be evicted? After I read through a bunch of confusing legal jargon and citations of different legal code in the letter, I hopped online and figured out that we were being evicted because she wanted to move in to our place. Obviously, I completely freaked out. In that moment, with everything else on my plate, the thought of trying to find a new apartment in 60 days in what is NOT a renter’s market was just too much. All those little what if questions flooded into my brain. You can imagine what it was like.

I didn’t sleep a wink Tuesday night and had knots in my stomach all Wednesday morning. Joe and I quickly started trying to arrange showings of different apartments, but were not excited to learn that to get something comparable to what we currently have, our rent would be increasing by almost 70%. Yikes. Then, in a really strange, confusing twist of events, the landlady called Joe during the middle of the day and said SURPRISE, JUST KIDDING. I actually don’t feel like moving into your place anymore! Instead, I’m just gonna sell the whole building! And I’m also not going to apologize for the ordeal I’ve put you through for the last 18 hours!

You are obviously starting to get a clearer picture of the kind of person we’re dealing with.

So now we’re in the interesting situation of, well, not knowing what the hell is going on. We’re inclined to just wait it out in our current apartment, see if she gets a buyer for our three unit building (she’s already planning to show it in the next few days), and then, feel out the new landlord, who hopefully will be slightly more, um, rational.

For a person like me who thrives on understanding a situation and then making a clear, organized plan around it, it’s a little tough for me to not feel anxious about the whole thing. But, it was also a great lesson that I really can’t control everything, and if I continue to let that get the best of me in times like this…well, it’s not good. I felt like my entire day yesterday was shot. I was so sapped of any kind of focus or creativity, just worrying, worrying, worrying. And how is that productive? It’s not. I kept thinking to myself, “I really don’t have time to be this anxious about this whole situation.” Because I don’t! So I have to learn to let go. LET GO. It’s going to be okay. Really. Seriously. It’s all going to be okay. Do you ever have to remind yourself of this?

I’m feeling a bit better today, with the help of lots of deep breaths, some stretching, great support from friends and family, and lots of wine last night. Somehow, the combination of those four things will allow anyone to just let it all go.

43 responses to “On letting go”

  1. York Avenue, on January 12, 2012 at 6:06 am said:

    Wow that is insane! I totally feel for you. It’s hard to be an apartment renter, where things are pretty much out of your control and at the whim of someone else-in your case, someone who sounds rather awful. I have an apartment that’s through my job so I’m constantly thinking “if I leave my job or lose my job, I’ll be homeless as well!” So yeah, there are always things that are beyond our control and we need to just roll with the punches. Easier said than done! Good luck-either way you’ll wind up with maybe a better apartment or DEFINITELY a better landlord (doesn’t seem anyone could get too much worse!)

    Reply
  2. Liz {Sequins and Stripes}, on January 12, 2012 at 6:11 am said:

    What a stressful situation! I think anyone would feel the same way given the short notice and sudden change. Either way, things could be worse and although moving is a pain it will most likely get you out of what could be a more difficult battle, or you will have a fresh start in a new place! I hope all goes well, take a few deep breaths + definitely more wine!

    Reply
  3. karlitapurplebow, on January 12, 2012 at 6:16 am said:

    In times like this I always remind a “phrase” which traduced in English goes more or less like: God, help me understand the things I can’t change, help me be brave to change the things I can change, and give me wisdom to recognize the difference.

    Reply
  4. HRCK the Herald, on January 12, 2012 at 6:26 am said:

    Yikes. That situation would throw anyone for a loop. I hope it works out that the new owner is more rational/reasonable.

    I also like the quote “this too shall pass.” And it always makes me think of Julia Roberts crying in the hallway in My Best Friend’s Wedding. :)

    Reply
  5. christin, on January 12, 2012 at 6:47 am said:

    Oh my god, Victoria, I am so sorry. This entire situation would totally give me another bald spot. Yes, I stress that bad that my hair falls out in chunks. But it is totally true, you can’t change it so just try as best as you can and you’ll be fine either way! Everything always ends up working out. I KNOW the new landlord won’t be nearly as ridiculous.

    Reply
  6. The Yuppie Files, on January 12, 2012 at 6:56 am said:

    That’s terrible! And a 70% hike in rent is not an easy adjustment. The good news is that you’ll be getting a new landlord so at least won’t have to deal w/your crazy current one. Its a good lesson to let go, but I do not envy the stress you’ve been through. Hope it works out!

    Reply
  7. Marion, on January 12, 2012 at 7:05 am said:

    Oh wow Victoria. It’s amazing how flighty and insensitive people can be sometimes. I can’t believe that she didn’t even apologize or empathize with what she put you through! That simple act alone would have helped give you some assurance or closure…
    But honestly, I’m sorry that you had to wade through those waters. After going through a particular difficult time a few years ago, I realized that we truly only have the illusion of control in life. You do what you can but our ship is affected by currents which are out of our control (Geez – not sure what’s up with all my water metaphors!!Lol!)

    During those times, I tend to reach for a little vino myself :-)
    XO – Marion

    Reply
  8. Ana, on January 12, 2012 at 7:12 am said:

    Im sorry to hear about your situation V! My cousin and some friends just went through something related – their landlord defaulted on the building’s mortgage and it was a scramble to figure out whether to move or wait and see.

    I’m glad you gave yourself time to worry, but also to move on. It will work out!

    Reply
  9. Lara Matos, on January 12, 2012 at 7:19 am said:

    Ugh I totally feel your pain.. I do not know how to “let go” or “go with the flow” or “let anything roll off my shoulders”. To accomplish any of the above it requires a lot of talking myself all the ledge, deep breathing exercises ( + wine). I would definitely be freaking out in your situation. Not sure how Joe is but Yanki is usually the rational one in our relationship :) It WILL all work out. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it happens sooner rather than later for you!

    Reply
  10. viv, on January 12, 2012 at 7:29 am said:

    Ugh, what a lady landlord you have! I can completely relate to the stress of looking for an apartment in no time and in this market, but I’m 100% positive everything will work out. There’s no use in losing sleep or worrying yourself sick. Just take deep breaths and everything will fall into place.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous, on January 12, 2012 at 7:29 am said:

    I’m a bit of a worrier myself. Actually it’s a New Year resolution to stop. But I find a couple of things help. Prayer, hot mint tea, deep breaths (counting to ten is more helpful than it sounds), and chocolate. Hope everything works out with the apartment.

    Reply
  12. Lauren {Stylized Existence}, on January 12, 2012 at 8:18 am said:

    This is an issue I deal with (control, perfection, not being able to let things go)… so I can totally feel you, and I think this is a great venue to let your words flow and LET IT OUT! Hopefully everything will work out, but for now, grab a latte and a book and try to immerse your mind in other things instead of thinking about the situation!

    Reply
  13. Molly, on January 12, 2012 at 8:42 am said:

    Your landlord sounds like a total psycho. I can’t stand people like that… who don’t care about how their actions and decisions can completely derail others… Ugh – sounds like a nightmare! I’m glad your stress has subsided (for now) but hey, at least you were being as completely proactive as possible during the 18 hours of chaos?
    xx
    P.S. – apartment hunting is enough to give me hives and stress so bad that I can’t eat so I completely understand how shaken you feel in the aftermath!!

    Reply
  14. Erin | Holtwood Hipster, on January 12, 2012 at 8:48 am said:

    I think so many people worry and ruminate on things they can’t control or wish they’d done better. I wholeheartedly count myself among them- and wrote a post about it just last week. I actually had a very similar thing happen to me in our last apartment. My husband (then boyfriend) and I had just decided to move into together, found the perfect little back house we couldn’t live without, bought all of the furniture to fit the unique layout and though we had signed a month to month lease, were promised that the owner had no intention on selling. Two months in, I get a call at work from his property management co telling me they are selling. Six anxiety riddled weeks of showings, with people walking through our home…but in the end, the new owner was a dream. We lived there 8 more years and were so thankful that things worked out the way they did. Some pretty extraordinary things have happened more recently in our lives that have challenged me to just live in the moment. It takes a lot of practice and constant reminders to myself, but I’ve found when I do, I’m happier for it. Remember, ‘Every snowflake falls where it should’. Things will probably work out better than you even thought possible.

    Reply
  15. Taylor O, on January 12, 2012 at 8:57 am said:

    Ugh Victoria I’m so so sorry!!!! What an awful and stressful week!! Fingers crossed that you end up staying with a new landlord that you love. I am similar to you in these situations – they just take such a toll. I always try to tell myself that everything happens for a reason – maybe this turns into an even better living situation that it was before and you are so much happier?! Keep the wine flowing in the meantime….. always a great temporary solution!

    Reply
  16. Erica | cupcakes and coffee breaks, on January 12, 2012 at 8:59 am said:

    Ugh, I hope you get everything sorted. I can totally relate to being a control freak, and I’m having similar frustrating feelings about something I’m trying to plan for as well (although it’s not nearly as urgent and stressful as yours). I hope you get it all sorted!

    Reply
  17. Grace - Stripes & Sequins, on January 12, 2012 at 9:05 am said:

    Oh gosh – what a horrible situation. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this, I would imagine it would be really stressful. I am the same way – I’m a planner, and a bit of a control freak as well… this would send me into a tailspin. It seems like you have a good approach though.. and yes, lots of wine definitely helps!!

    Reply
  18. Aubrey, on January 12, 2012 at 9:28 am said:

    GAH! I would be freaking out right along with ya! I can’t even believe your stupid landlord! What a jerk! Let’s keep fingers crossed that the person that buys the place will be the best person you ever met and you’ll love them like family. Fingers crossed. (c:

    Reply
  19. Bradley, on January 12, 2012 at 9:48 am said:

    Oh deeeear. That’s so much to deal with right now! I’m so sorry to hear that. Like you, I am a control freak and have trouble dealing when things don’t go according to my perfectly devised plan. Major anxiety over here! I’m trying to learn to let things go more too! Let’s do it together!

    Reply
  20. Tamra, on January 12, 2012 at 10:08 am said:

    ARhhhh!! I would have let loose on that landlord, or my hubs would have. I’m so sorry for the unnecessary stress she put on y’all and to be unconcerned for y’alls feelings makes it that much worse. You are taking the right approach though and rationally thinking, It would have taken me a few more days to settle, so your resolution is working. I’ll be crossing my fingers your new landlord is a saint! xo

    Reply
  21. Lindsay, on January 12, 2012 at 10:17 am said:

    V – this is awful!!! Is it even legal to evict someone with no notice like that just bc she wants to move back in???

    Reply
  22. Miranda {onestylishdayatatime}, on January 12, 2012 at 10:34 am said:

    Ugh I’ve been there! Except my landlord didn’t tell us the property was a short sale, and then in foreclosure. The list goes on. We eventually got out of there just to avoid the stress and it was a great decision! Honestly, having your home in question is one of the most uneasy feelings and I feel for you! It also helps to do your research on renter’s law too. She may not be able to do this to you and you can also “play” back by not allowing showings, etc. She may also be violating your “covenant of quiet enjoyment”. No joke, read that when I was studying for my situation. Good luck!

    Reply
  23. Natalie, on January 12, 2012 at 10:34 am said:

    Oh man, what a horrible situation. I’m so sorry, but at least you have a really great perspective on the situation. I can definitely be a control freak too so I completely understand your reaction. You’re an amazing woman and will find a way to make things work!

    Reply
  24. sharon@house58blog.com, on January 12, 2012 at 10:49 am said:

    ahhhh…wine makes everything better, doesn’t it? So very sorry for what you were put through. Chin up! This means something better is coming…I’m sure of it!

    Reply
  25. Tiffany @ Savor Home, on January 12, 2012 at 11:35 am said:

    I couldn’t have read this at a better time. I am sitting at work stressed about a deadline. And I am OCD. And I am a control freak. Not good. But I do know that things will work out exactly how you said- perfectly fine. They somehow always do. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. And “just kidding??” Not cool. Keep your head up girl and I will do the same!

    Reply
  26. Nikki Rappaport, on January 12, 2012 at 11:49 am said:

    Oh goodness, I can’t believe how much crazier that story got! I can totally understand your “control’ issues and I don’t blame you. Especially for something so big as where you live! I know everything will work out in the end and either you’ll feel fortunate to stay in your place or have the great opportunity to move somewhere great (= more decorating!) Good luck love, and keep me posted! xo

    Reply
  27. Jacquelyn, on January 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm said:

    ah, I’m so sorry you had to go through this! Realistically, I would probably have had the same reaction. I’m convinced that these things happen for a reason though! Now you can appreciate your apartment that much more ;) And you’re right, when it comes down to it, everything would have been ok in the end no matter what!

    Reply
  28. Alexa, on January 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm said:

    Oh my goodness…I was shocked when I read that about your landlord! That is ridiculous. I would have had heart palpatations too. But you’re right it’s all about taking deep breaths and trusting that everything will work out!

    Reply
  29. designstiles, on January 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm said:

    What a bitch. No, not you. Definitely not you. TH is usually the one who freaks out and stresses pretty much every second of his life. I’m his reminder that things will be okay. But getting an unexpected eviction notice when you think you don’t have any reason to receive one will put even the most patient person over the edge. Wow! Sending you lots of good luck and well wishes.

    Reply
  30. Renee, on January 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm said:

    I’ve only very recently found your blog. {as in this week} So I don’t really feel like I know you all that well as of yet. I do however feel for you in your current situation. Your land lady is a complete nightmare. complete. While reading your post here it made me think of another post that I read this week on another blog. You may already read this blog and have read this post yourself but I thought it was helpful in making me realize that even though I personally dislike change sometimes it can be for the best.
    http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2012/01/from-his-perspective-change.html
    Here’s to hoping that maybe it will also help you. :)

    Reply
  31. The Design Daredevil, on January 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm said:

    I HAAAAAAAAAAAAATE hearing “everything happens for a reason” so I won’t say that, but I can promise you it will get better. The housing market sucks everywhere. I have moved not once, but twice in the pat 6 months. 80% of my belongings are in storage right now. I will be moving yet again in a few months. Ugh. Hang in there girl.

    XO~JD

    Reply
  32. Sara Mueller, on January 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm said:

    sorry to hear about your experience, but it’s great that you are feeling better now. I am also a control freak and letting go of certain things is so hard.

    Reply
  33. Rowena, on January 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm said:

    I have control issues as well as my husband is always telling me not to fret over that which I cannot control. So sorry to hear about your horrid landlady and your housing issues. It’s good you’re not stressing about it anymore and I hope that things will somehow work out for the best. Take care!

    Reply
  34. Lisa, on January 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm said:

    Crazy landlords are the WORST. I had one, and it was one of the most stressful times in my life. Good luck, and I hope the new landlord is much better!

    Reply
  35. casallina, on January 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm said:

    As a fellow control freak, I totally get what you’re saying. And you’re right…. when you have no control over something, the best you can do is just let go and move forward. Good luck to you! I’m sure things will work out.

    Reply
  36. Savvy in San Francisco, on January 13, 2012 at 12:27 am said:

    I am so sorry that you had to go through that! So frustrating! Hopefully the new landlord will not be CRAZY!

    Reply
  37. akismet-1911d3f0fb1230e97c62611703290be4, on January 14, 2012 at 8:30 am said:

    Hello Victoria, reading your harrowing story confirms so well what I write extensively about: The Importance of Letting Go of Control and How to Do It! As you say, so much of your dilemma involves people and things over which you clearly have no control or are powerless to change. Taking some deep breaths and re-assuring yourself that you will be okay are two effective ways in which to let let go of control.
    I have found that the best way is to face and process our fears, and an effective way is through what I call a “worst case scenario” exercise, which inevitably leads to the conclusion that the very worst thing we imagined rarely occurs.

    By letting go of your situation, my guess is that you will end up just fine–and maybe even better than before!

    Danny Miller
    http://www.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com

    Reply
  38. Sarah Roads (@HighStyling), on January 14, 2012 at 10:01 am said:

    Oh no! I am so behind. What a crappy week for you, I am so sorry. I identify with control issues unfortunately. They suck! I have had so much change and disappointments in the last few years, but I’m happy to say I’m so glad because God had better plans for me than I had for myself. You are going to be ok. You are loved by so many and that’s all that really matters in the end! Deep breaths, more wine, and hang in there babe! xo

    Reply
  39. Amy, on January 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm said:

    You’re not alone and I completely understand your fear and anger and frustration over this mayhem. Yesterday, we had an eviction notice placed in our apartment door too – Happy Friday the 13th to us!
    We pay our rent on time too. And we are hardly ever in the place from sunrise to sunset Monday through Saturday so I’m still completely in the dark and confused as to why we’re being evicted. The only clue is the 2 month notice so maybe they’re taking over the unit for themselves. But just say that! We’re not crazy and know their family situation (may need to take over the apartment for grandma). But to make it an even more” interesting” situation, I’m almost 6 months pregnant. And starting to get into nesting mode (read: environment control mode). So I’m hurt as well at the lack of reason or discussion esp since the wife has had 2 babies in the last 2 years. So I know she hasn’t forgotten how difficult it is to bend much less lift things at this stage. Or how stressful being a new mother is – enough worries as is. I can’t help but feel angry at the callousness. Bleh..
    Anyway, we’re trying to look at it as a positive. This wasn’t ideal for a baby anyway (upstairs, very limited access to washer/dryer, unreasonable landlord requests that have gotten worse, etc.) but I hope in your case the place sells to someone who wants tenants and will be a better landlord for you. Good luck!!

    Reply
  40. alyson, on January 15, 2012 at 6:34 am said:

    Oh my gosh, what a freaking you know what. How crazy. I am so sorry to hear what you’ve been dealing with. I’m also a total control freak so this is something I probably would not handle well. DO you have longer to find a new place since the building is now being sold?! Hope so.

    Reply
  41. Lauren, on January 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm said:

    Oh my gosh, I would kill the b-otch.
    Had no idea you were going through this. I’m so sorry love. Hoping and praying everything turns out for you!

    Reply
  42. Naomi@Design Manifest, on January 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm said:

    Oh my gosh. I heard the first of this on twitter, but what a whirlwind you’ve been threw. Hopefully someone new will come in who’s cool and you guys can stay out. (70% increase is nuts!) Love your attitude about all of it though.

    Reply
  43. Happy Friday & Links, on June 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm said:

    […] from Big Girls Small Kitchen recently visited Peru and posted some great pictures.- I loved reading Victoria’s post on letting go of things we can’t control.- Kirsten of 6th Street Design School is hosting a Caitlin […]

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