Liz Shalala- Pensiero
"The Great Pause" . . . .
We are heading into our 4th week of quarantine here. Social distancing, isolation, homeschooling and basic "not leaving the house" is now the new normal. I will have plastic gloves and a mask in every purse, car and school backpack for the forseeable future. Some of it I'm getting used to, though. I don't miss my alarm going off at 6:00am OR the 9:00pm pick up from dance 4 nights a week. I don't mind not having to make lunches the night before or the religious education homework we forgot to do (again!). My son is home from college and back into the fold of our every day lives. We are 5 again at the dinner table. The laundry room is back to full capacity and there is the priceless comfort all moms of teenagers feel when the kids are back sleeping in their own beds.
However, the sheer speed of which this situation was thrust upon us was so fast, we are just now catching our breath. The kids left school on a dreary Thursday afternoon in mid-March admist a flurry of excitement. School shutting down for two weeks is every kids dream come true! Until reality set in! College kids home for good. Proms, recitals, and graduations all cancelled. Standardized test cancelled. Drivers tests cancelled. Kids still have belongings left in classrooms and dorm rooms. It's not exciting anymore. .. it's just sad. We are grieving what we didn't have a chance to say good-bye to. We didn't hug our 4th grade teacher before we left or catch up with that friend that we never see outside of school. Our routine was taken for granted. Tomorrow was taken for granted. I have recently heard that the history books will refer to this as "The Great Pause". The period in time when the world was literally paused. And for those of us who lived through it. . . we had very little warning and lots of time to grieve what we didn't know was being left behind.
I struggled on how to make this post relevant to my work. The "why" and "how" to connect it to Home Staging. Our news feeds, social media platforms and emails have been bombarded with memes and posts on everything "quarantine". We are all in the same boat; doing the same thing. . . and everything is on repeat. Do we really need to hear another opinion on the same thing?? However, here is a little bit of what I can offer. I have made a career out of going into people's homes and helping them prepare for their next chapter. People move for a myriad of reasons; I help make sure their home is marketed properly so they can move on. What will that process look like "post-quarantine"? What will our local real estate markets look like "post -quarantine"? Will homes be in high demand as people from the cities flock to the suburbs? Will the loss of so many jobs and high unemployment decrease the number of qualified buyers? No one knows because we have NEVER experienced anything like this.
That said, I believe Home Staging will be more important than ever before. Once we begin to heal and steady our footing once again, home sales will be unpredictable. Even the most seasoned of Realtors are unsure of what to expect for the coming months. Therefore, using a qualified Home Stager to insure your paint colors are up to date, furnishings are on trend, natural lighting and floor plans are highlighted and spaces make sense will help your home stand out during this uncertain time. "Post-quarantine" staging consults may look different than they used to. Perhaps, Stagers will now require that they work alone in the space and leave the "reveal" for when the homeowner returns. The Realtors whose face-to-face contact, opinions and friendships have often be helpful, may now have to be done virtually for the time being. I think that is what I grieve for the most. . .the normalcy of personal and professional relationships.
Hopefully, we will all focus on how to make the best of what's ahead. Have patience with the virtual world and respect other's concerns and anxieties when it comes to going back to work. So much has been out of our control; let's take control of what makes us feel "normal". In my home, it's making sure the laundry is done and our favorite foods are in the refrigerator. We laugh over Zoom with grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. We cook, we binge watch, we exercise, we text with friends, we build with LEGOS, work in the yard and visit with neighbors. My hope is that we all try to enjoy "The Great Pause" with family and friends so when we come out the other side. . . we will appreciate the time we had together, the work we have ahead of us & each other so much more! Stay well.