Never meet your idols. Google that phrase and you could spend days reading about people who happened to encounter some celebrity or sports star that they had once worshiped, only to be gravely disappointed by the lackluster personality, behavior, or looks of their once-certain hero.
In other words, real people don’t often live up to the awe we assign them in our imaginations.
But despite knowing that, we nonsensically weave similar sky-high expectations of our own family and friends. Relationships develop — and the closer we get to people, the more we expect. Our parents are supposed to be unwavering caretakers, our spouses are to be flawless mind readers, our friends should be diligently present, fiercely reliable, and always on call. And our children? Well, they had better step up that ladder we built for them to climb.
Somehow and over time, the people we love the most become the people whose shortcomings we forgive the least.
This is what I deem the universal tendency to put people on pedestals.
But with a closer look, it seems that people aren’t the only victims of our sky-high imaginations. We can tend to do the same with our careers, vacations – even our clothing, accessories, hobbies, and yes… our HOMES.
Standards are good, yes — and necessary. But shouldn’t there be a line drawn between expecting the best and demanding perfect?
Glad you asked!
When considering a move for reasons other than necessity, it might be prudent to take a long pause to assess which reasons are leading you to which cities, neighborhoods, or homes specifically. Here are some factors to help you decipher whether you’re putting a new place on a pedestal, or pinpointing your perfect place.
- Are you being fiscally risky?
There is an old thought that says you’ll never like a garment as much as you like it in the store you find it in. That same notion applies to almost anything that costs money or time. Things are always more flawless and sparkly before you get to know their wrinkles. (That goes for clothing, early relationships, and houses.) If you’re letting the high of the buy catapult you into a potentially risky financial situation, then you’re probably leaning just a little too much on a pedestal.
- Are you thinking about the fairy tale or real life?
There are certain neighborhoods and homes that carry with them a finesse and gravitas that just entice future buyers. There are also notable areas that hold reputations for lofty sale prices, manicured lawns, and picture-perfect curb appeal. Inside those neighborhoods, though, still remains the humdrum of regular human beings: work, kids, LIFE. If you’re concentrating on the “idea” of a place rather than the actual life you’ll create there, chances are your holing a priority out of place.
- Are you hoping others will be impressed?
Things are different now than they were even a mere 20 years ago. It seems everything we see, do, buy, and value is on display. Social media, texting, and the ability to communicate immediately all the time has contributed to this phenomenon of publicity, even for the most private of people. If you’re considering a move, you must remove the common inclination to survey the thoughts of every person in your life. Each person and family are going to value and prioritize myriad factors about a new place to live. There are so many factors, in fact, that it would seem impossible to overlap on many at all. (Schools, yards, commute distance, neighborhood vibe, history… the list goes on and on.) Before you move to make an impression, poll your own family, survey your own needs and wants, and find a place that fits your frame of mind.
- Are you ready to meet your idol?
It seems like common sense, but have you actually spent time in the neighborhood or near the home you’re longing to live in? Often people create a picture in their minds of what something must be like, rather than what it is. If you’re a suburbanite yearning for a city life in Lincoln Park, spend a generous amount of time there – not during the weekend dinner rush but during the day – in the winter! The same goes for the reverse. If you’re longing for a picturesque life on the North Shore, be certain you can withstand a slower pace with longer commutes and lots of yardwork. You may feel in your gut that a perfect place exists for you, but clarity comes from action – not thought. Take the time to enjoy the view before it is sure to be yours for good.
When it comes to real estate, it seems our pedestals could make for a perfect storm of expectation hangovers and regret. If we’re in the mood to move, then the most wonderful, loyal, intelligent thing we can do for ourselves is to take things off the pedestals we haphazardly put them on. What I know for certain is that when we put people, ideas, and places on pedestals, their slipping off is inevitable. They have a 100 percent fall rate — no exceptions.
When we stop looking for everything to live up to our expectations, we make room for them to surprise us. When we stop looking for perfect - and instead seek perfect-for-me – we find our way home.
Catch us back here bi-weekly as we bring you curated and Chicago-based real estate content (with a life coach’s twist). Next up: Looking for a smart way to spend your time this Spring? Start here... Let That Spring Sun Shine! Chicago’s New Hotspots to Drink & Dine