Hello World. I’m Back.

By Susan DeBow

Hello World. I'm Back.

For over 18 years I have been a writer. From the comfort of my office in my house, I have written columns, essays, a novel, poems, articles and short stories. The people I have met have been mostly in my head. Enjoyable people, for the most part, and if they bother me, I can shut them out, make them disappear.

But last fall, a few things happened that led me in a new direction, one that includes people.

My husband and I, like millions of Americans, pay out the nose for health insurance. Although we have insurance through a former employer, our monthly premiums are nearly as much as our house payment, deductibles have risen as well as out of pocket expenses.

Gas costs, food prices, house insurance, or in one big gulp, the cost of

living, has increased too. The only thing that has not increased is our income.

Seeing that money doesn’t fall from the Bradford Pear tree, and the ship we were hoping might bring a boatload of cash was probably the Titanic, both my husband and I decided that we should alter our courses and, gulp, go back out in the world.

So, after a twenty-some odd year break from real estate, I decided to use my broker’s license that I had kept current but hadn’t used. The brainstorm to do this came innocently.

A friend of mine is a Realtor. She was going to be on vacation, and she needed someone to talk to an elderly client of hers and have a paper signed. She asked if I would do it.

In a weak moment I said yes.

Wouldn’t you know that the woman was delightful? I stayed and talked to her and eased her mind about a couple of things, and after I left I thought, you know, I enjoyed that, and I used to be good at that thing called talking to people. I felt like I really helped her by listening and offering a steady hand to guide her.

This surprised me as for so long I was in my internal mode. That world was out there as were my written words, but my body, personality and presence were ensconced in my home.

My husband and I talked about my little venture back into real estate land. Of course, talking with a nice woman was only one aspect of the business. But was it enough to get me thinking about a future that included people? Should I? Could I? Could I go from my solitary world that was in a pretty controlled

environment, back into a world that was filled with people, potential potholes, rules and regulations, and the unknown?

A mysterious thing happened. I got excited. I could, should and would do this. The potential for making a living was there, I had maintained my broker’s license, and, yes, I was ready.

Well, almost.

I was aware that much had changed in the business. So, instead of racing back in half-ass backwards, I chose to take as many courses as I could to update me on changes in the law, business, marketing and most of all, technology.

In the next month and a half I took nearly 70 hours of courses, chose a company to associate with, reorganized my desk from art and writing to real estate central. I obtained several professional designations. And…tada, I got a smart phone!

Let me tell you, you can’t be a dummy to operate a smart phone. Well, it helps to have kids that can set you up and answer your questions.

My goal was to begin starting my business by the first of the year. But in December, when we decided we had to have some work done on our bathroom, I mentioned to the man we hired to do the work that I was in real estate. Wouldn’t you know his girlfriend was going to look for a house?

I almost said, “Not yet, it isn’t January!” but I bit my tongue. Within two weeks I had a sale. It was a bit of a hairy deal, as some real estate transactions are, but I got in the groove quickly and got the deal closed ahead of the contract date. Three more sales followed.

Last time I was in the real estate business I had four kids to raise, school projects to help with and ballgames to attend. This time, the kids are raised and are raising their children…or dogs. I don’t have to worry about babysitters. My time is more my own.

There have been adjustments. As a writer, I have been able to say and ask most anything I want, within reason. In the real estate business, conversations and information are dictated by law and ethics. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that real estate is only partially about houses. It is more about people, circumstance, dreams, hopes and reality.

I can’t say that I miss writing, because I am still able to write. Time allows me to do art, also. Instead of wiping my professional and creative slate clean, I added to my repertoire.

At age 62, I altered my course: necessitated by need, accomplished by choice.

And here is a little confession. At the beginning of November, after I decided to return to real estate, I questioned whether I could learn all that I saw out there that I needed to know. Did I still have it or was I fooling myself?

It’s not necessarily easy to change careers, to put yourself out there in a different light. When more of the future seems behind you it is easy to accept defeat before you try. But I don’t look at the future as 20 years down the road. For me, the future is today, and that is good enough. I am doing what I have to do to live in a world that has changed and will continue to change. Change is part of continuing to be alive.

I have changed. I have learned. I have done what it takes. And you know what?

If I can do it, so can you.

About this writer

  • Susan Hipkins DeBow Susan Hipkins DeBow is a writer and artist. A hobby of hers is watching Law and Order reruns and then going around telling people she wants to make a “collar on the perps,” and demands a “remand.” She got hooked on Law and Order reruns after seeing Seinfeld reruns 20 times. You can read Susan’s work and see her art, photography and miscellaneous miscellany at www.ohiowritergirl.com If you are nice, she’d like to be your friend on facebook. Go to her Facebook page, Ohio Writer Girl.

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3 Responses to “Hello World. I’m Back.”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about! I quit teaching ten years ago and have enjoyed my solitude and my writing habit. Yet, when I get out in the world and meet delightful folks, I wonder what I’m missing by my self-imposed seclusion.

  2. Good for you, Susan, for taking a chance! You know you’re on the right track when you feel excited about what you’re doing and thrilled that you’re helping people. By the way, I recently got an iPhone, too, — and yes, had my kids help me set it up and get started! :)

  3. Linda O'Connell says:

    Susan, kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and discovering your other passion. Great story!

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