A place of one’s own

Thursday marks five months exactly since the offer I made on a beautiful flat in a tree-filled part of South London was accepted. Coincidentally, it’s also the date we are scheduled to complete – which in UK house-buying parlance, means the day I actually become the owner of it. Five months isn’t an unusual amount of time in this country, where the process is convoluted, and where generally people end up in property chains where people must sell and buy on the same day. It’s still a horrifically long time when you’re in the midst of it.

Needless to say, the current covid-19 situation has also thrown some spanners in the works. As of today – Tuesday – I’m told we are permitted to go ahead with completion, and that I will be able to move. I am trying to focus on that, but also not get my hopes up too high, because despite the fact that we are now contractually obligated to complete, this is a crazy time and no one really knows what’s going to happen.

It’s a difficult place to be in. I’d expected to be anxious with excitement, this week, counting down the days with pleasure. I’d booked in leave so that I could have the better part of a week at home, to nest, following the move. (This is hilarious, in retrospect, because… if this move goes ahead, I am going to have nothing to do BUT nest.)

Pink oven! Wooden bench-tops! Swanky tiles!

Instead of excitement, I’m in a constant state of anxiety. To be honest, knowing me, I’m sure there would have been anxiety anyway. Some of the anxiety dreams I’m having result in me waking up absolutely convinced I’ve forgotten something important, or leaving confused instructions for myself that, in the morning, mean nothing. Last night, I appear to have set myself a reminder for ‘vital shopping’. I don’t know what ‘vital shopping’ refers to, but I’m 99% confident I’m covered. I’m pretty sure that kind of thing would have happened regardless of this whole situation, because I am an anxious person, and this is not unlike me. I’m pretty sure, though, that the whole situation has amplified it.

So I’m anxious. I’m not sleeping (or at least, not sleeping well). I’m also hyper-conscious of the fact that I’m doing this alone, and that it would be so much easier to get through this if I had a partner. Which, on the other hand, makes me feel pretty good about myself for managing on my own… but still. Most of the time – 99% of the time – I am perfectly comfortable being single, and then there are these moments where I can see the benefit of having someone.

Which is not to say that I’m alone, because there are lots of people in my corner right now, talking me off cliffs or just generally being supportive.

First order of business, upon moving, will be to test out my new bathtub.

And… look. As stressful as all of this is, I’m still in a place of enormous privilege. Even if the purchase gets put on hold, I’m not homeless (I don’t really want to stay where I am, and it will cause me stress, but I won’t be homeless). I have a stable job, unlike so many other people. I’m in good health. I’m in the financial position to be able to buy in the first place. Whatever happens, I am incredibly lucky.

And whether it ends up being Thursday, or some later date, I am going to finally be able to realise my long-held dream to own my own home. And that’s super exciting.

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