Make The First Move

Today on the plane I opened a chocolate and was greeted with this message:

FullSizeRender (17)

This could mean anything, right?  Depending on where you are in your life, “Make the first move” could be aimed at your love life, a project at work, or something else completely.  It could mean that it is the time to stop procrastinating and start doing.  In fact, that is exactly what it meant for me.  And last week I FINALLY made the first move.

This past Friday I told my boyfriend, John, that I am moving out of our place and back to my city condo for the month of August.  In an effort to keep this post as short and sweet as my chocolate message (my first attempt was 3k words!), I won’t go into the intricate details of what led me to this decision, but I will tell you that it took MONTHS to get to this point.  Though it sounds counterproductive, I needed a certain amount of discomfort to push me out of my comfort zone.  Last week I hit it.  And then the rest miraculously fell into place.

First, a bit of backstory…

I have many rules when buying real estate but only two will stop a deal dead in its tracks:

  1. Must allow dogs at least 65lbs
  2. Must allow rentals

The dog rule is based on my current situation.  As an investor, I have learned never to buy a property that I myself can not or would not live in.  I have a 65lb dog, therefore, every unit I buy until Bubs is gone will allow 65lb dogs.  No exceptions.  When my world fell apart a few years back, it was nice to know I had one remaining rental that I could take shelter in.  Had that unit not allowed dogs, I would have had to find then rent a new apartment adding a ton of stress to an already debilitating situation.  I am so grateful that wasn’t the case.

Rule #2 is just as important.  Based on previous experience, I have also learned that I can not trust myself to make long-term housing decisions – I move often and enjoy the flexibility to do so.  Based on that nomadic nugget, some would wonder why I don’t just rent.  I can’t explain the reasoning except to say that the one year I had to rent (after owning for the 10 years prior), it made me miserable knowing I was paying someone else’s mortgage every time I wrote a check.  I know there are many who can/will argue the other side of the coin but this is what works for me.  🙂

Anywho, a few years back (during the shitty year of paying someone else’s rent) when I saw my upstairs neighbor was selling their unit at an insanely low price.  I simply couldn’t refuse.  Based on my then-recent short sales, I knew I couldn’t get a mortgage so instead, I sold all my company stock, cashed in my Roth, and gathered every dime I could in order to purchase the unit.  After the closing, I was left with $6000 to my name and a 401k just shy of $100k.  My total net worth equaled $105k plus a shiny set of keys to my new condo.

Now, I had lived in the building on and off for the past 10+ years so I was well aware of the 25% rental cap when I bought my studio.   What that basically means is that 25% of the units are slated for rentals while the other 75% of units must be owner-occupied.  I purchased my unit knowing I would be breaking Rule #2  – I could not rent this unit – and I was more than OK with that.  My plan was to stay for several years and someday turn my live in studio into an investment property.  In October 2014, a few days after purchasing the unit, I called the management company and gladly took position #24 on the standby rental list.

Of course, as Murphy loves to fuck up a good plan, I met John a week after signing the papers and grabbing those keys.  My grandiose idea to continue my life as a home owning, bike riding, happy hour drinkin’, Whole Foods shopping city girl slowly morphed into a flat renting, car driving, kid shuttling, Aldi shopping suburbanite.  What the…

But back to the present because, so far, none of this is the weird part.  Here it is – after a full year of letting my place sit vacant while wondering if I should sell or wait to be able to rent it, within ONE HOUR of telling John I was moving to the city in an effort to fix the place up and prep it for the impending sale or rent, the management company called me and told me I was finally granted permission to rent.  Huh?!  

I had been on that list for 31 freaking months and as soon as I stopped waiting for something to happen, as soon as I made a decision to move forward with the part that I could control, the Universe stepped in to tell me I was on the right path.  That is fucking weird.  The same type of weird that happens when you think about someone you haven’t talked to in a coon’s age and they finally call you or text you out of the blue.  Weird.  And then it gets weirder.

I am rarely on FB.  It isn’t my jam.  Many of you know me from Twitter alone (and if you popped over to read this, THANKS!).  That being said, we recently had a family reunion so I jumped on FB specifically to make sure no one had tagged me in any embarrassing pictures for the whole world to see.  They didn’t.  However, again, just HOURS after getting notified that I was granted permission to rent out my unit, my mother tags me in this post from my condo building’s FB group:


What the…   I acted fast!  With a quick bit of research, I realized that the $800/month I was thinking to rent my place for was way under budget for the current going rate closer to $1000/month.  A few minutes later I text Sarah with all the details (including the unbeknownst to her 25% rent hike) and soon we had plans to meet the next week for a showing of her possibly soon to be new apartment.  She even agreed to the $1000/month rental price and seemed super excited (maybe I asked too little? 😉 )!  The Universe had intervened yet again.

Seriously.  So much good is happening that it makes me want to cry!

It’s funny – all my months (years!) of dragging my feet on this unit and the indecision I created surrounding it, all came to a head at the same moment.  The moment that I decided to stop waiting for a sign.  The moment where I decided I am OK without a safety net.  The moment I decided to let the chips fall where they may.  The moment I decided to make the first move.   

Is it possible that had I not had this conversation with John the management company may have called anyway?  Yup.  Is it possible I would still be heading to the city to do all the work of packing, selling, painting, and repairing regardless?  Yup.  But that isn’t how it happened in my head.  For me, I took responsibility for something that had been irking me for a while.  I stopped waiting and started acting.  I practiced what I preach about being proactive instead of reactive.  And everything fell into place at the exact same time. I believe the word for such a rare and beautiful occurrence is kismet.

I am telling this story to encourage others to MAKE THE FIRST MOVE.  Gather all your strength and courage and take the first step.  Don’t be afraid to shake things up.  Stop waiting for something to happen and start making it happen.  Stop wondering what could be and start making it be.  If you are not happy with your work, your relationship, or your living situation, SPEAK UP.  Someone is listening.  If you believe in God, he’s listening.  If you believe in the Universe, it’s listening.  And if you believe in yourself enough to silence every other naysaying voice around you, you too can be listening to what it is YOU really want.  Do not wait another minute.  Life is short.  Too short to spend months or years wondering what comes next.  Make it happen instead.

**  Where do you need to make the first move?  What have you been procrastinating that needs a bit of a push?  What are you waiting for???  🙂  **

Until next time…

45 thoughts on “Make The First Move

    1. Thank you for the compliment! I think I started with the intention of writing about money but, you’re right, the space is kind of packed tight. I figured out fast that I am not great at equations, charts, and graphs (so many people do it awesome!) so I am playing to my strength which is story telling. I am just happy people are willing to listen! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. frompenniestopounds

    Aw I am so so happy for you reading that! I completely agree that making changes can lead to a chain reaction and positive things are sent your way!


  2. I love stories like that! Quite the inspiration I needed to get started on some Masters course work I have been procrastinating on. It does seem like we wait and wait and wait (for 31 months, in your case) and then all of a sudden everything happens at once. I hope your tenant works out well for you and everything goes as smoothly as possible!


    1. I’m glad it helped you! At this very moment I am taking a break in packing to post the my rental on Craigslist. Though she was warned prior to coming, the perspective tenant couldn’t quite handle the 3 flights of stairs. She huffed and puffed all through the showing! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe she’s taking her first step towards being more fit and might take the place – so she can climb more stairs in her day! 🙂 (It’s what I would think if I loved a rental but only hesitated because of the stairs. My second thought would be, “How Parisian to take the stairs all the time!”)


        1. Trust me, I was really hoping that was the case but by the end of the conversation she had pushed back her move in date by 2 months. When I told her I couldn’t wait that long and would have to list it she looked relieved. 😅 Either way, meeting her granted me an invite to the place next door that she is currently renting above the garage. This old mansion that I have been dying to see inside for 10+ years!! Yeah me!!


  3. Awesome story about making the first move. It’s amazing how things work out when you least expect it to. I’ve recently been of the mindset that I need to pull up my anchor on my ship and at least move in a direction even if it’s the wrong direction. It’s easier to redirect your path than not move at all 🙂


  4. Congratulations Miss Mazuma! I too believe in the weird, unexplainable phenomenon that if you take the first step towards the thing you want, the universe will meet you halfway. One of my favorite quotes of all time, and the only quote I have hanging above my desk is (sorry, it’s long):

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

    Awesome post and a great reminder to “make the first move” 🙂


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  6. I needed this! I have been procrastinating to the max recently, hence why it has taken me 4 months to (finally) write a blog post. Sometimes it is just easier to sit back and wait, but that isn’t necessarily what we should do. Proud of you for taking the first step and let’s just say that you completely inspired me to ditch the lazy sidekick that has been tagging along with me recently.


    1. Girl, don’t I know. Procrastination is the Devil. Now that I’m home from the past 5 days on the road I am hoping to finished my guest post for GCC! If you don’t see it out soon please come over and pinch me. 😁 Thanks again for the other night. Hope to see you guys soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy Blacklock

    So much love for this post! Congrats on everything moving forward for you. Continue making those first moves!


  8. Working Optional

    This is great! Love it when things fall into place and the stars are aligned just right. Congratulations!


  9. That’s awesome that you can rent that finally, and serendipitous that you already made that decision before you knew you could. 🙂

    We’re stuck in limbo on “build the house sooner or later” or something totally different? hahaha The first move would be getting a builder to do the topo survery, tree survey and start designing the house. We could always get that part done and then sit on it for 6 months or so before building and even that part can take 3-4 months if we redseign or tweak the design a time or two to get it “just right”.

    It’s still scary thinking about leaving this fairly comfy, well paid situation that I enjoy 90% of the time to go to a life of, who knows what? I totally get One More Year syndrome.


    1. I do not envy you with all those decisions to make! The good news, most decisions can be undone (even bad tattoos!). When I redid the kitchen in my old house, I scanned Pinterest for months before coming up with my first plan. Then a few days later I would see something new and change it. And over and over. I can’t even imagine designing a whole house! What a thrill, though. To know you’ve made your own stamp on it. 🙂

      One more year syndrome is so hard to cure. Thank goodness I am still a few years out. I’m hoping they come up with a pill or something. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Julie! I have been waiting so long I can’t believe I didn’t act sooner. Totally reminds me of your post on why people wait until they are super sick when whatever the ailment was could have been fixed had they come in sooner. We never learn!!!


  10. sunny

    What timing on this post! I was just sent an email from a friend about using time wisely when you’re in a waiting time – to do something, anything! When I’m waiting for something to change, I tend to sit back and see what happens. The article from my friend got me thinking, then literally 30 seconds later I read your post. Now is the time for action! 🙂 So exciting how it all worked out for you!!


  11. Hey, Miss M. So glad things worked out with the apartment. That is so freaky that the day you decided to put it in order the management company lets you know you can rent it. Queue the Twilight Zone music. Mrs. G and I have been pretty good lately. No real procrastination on our end. The only thing that has me slightly off kilter is our quest to buy a couple of acres in the Wake Forest area of North Carolina. We just haven’t found the right property yet, and I’m wondering if our want-list too restrictive. Oh, well. We’ll see how things go over the next few months. Hope good fortune continues to shine on you. Cheers.


    1. Freaky indeed. I wonder if an early retirement will cause me to procrastinate or be so full of life that I won’t stop moving. I am hoping for the latter. 🙂

      As for the real estate, you know it takes time to find the perfect spot. I have no doubt the perfect places will come to you at the perfect time. They always say timing is everything. I don’t know who “they ” are but they sound super smart.


  12. AdventureRich

    First off, congratulations on having everything fall into place! Haha- its amazing how things work out sometimes 🙂

    We had quite a collection of “falling into place” events last year. After my husband applied for a northern MI job in 2015 and didn’t receive an offer, we kept looking, hoping to find a way to move closer to family and in a LCOL area (we were in SoCal!). Eight months later, the same job came up again… so he reapplied. The company did not want him for that job… but found another position opening 2 months later for him because they wanted him there! This triggered a cross-country move and my transition from working in office to working remotely (yay! no commute!). Not even a month after we arrived in Michigan, we stumbled on the house + property of our dreams… on Craigslist and in our price range! It was the craziest 4 months of our lives and I am still in awe at how it all worked out!

    ~Mrs. Adventure Rich


    1. Wow!! I love that same same job came up but they wanted him for something different. Someone is doing something right in recruiting. And awesome that you get to work remotely. I dream of the day I can stay home and somehow serve peanuts and pretzels from the comfort of my own couch. Not likely to happen. 😂


  13. Yes! Listen to what the world is telling you. I thought I’d maybe buy another property this fall, but the universe said no. My friend J and I have been thinking about starting a podcast but we were worried about being bad. We said skip it and started it anyways!


    1. Yeah, girl!! I was keeping my fingers crossed you would bail on the second property. Just chill for a bit and the right opportunity will come your way when it is right for you. As for the podcast, fuck yeah!! I can’t wait to hear it. 😊


  14. Congratulations!!! I’m so happy things are going well for you 🙂
    I’m going through several big changes in the short and long-term. Later this month I’ll be taking my first-ever trip abroad to Peru (it only took me 30 years to gather up the ‘nads and the cash to go outside the country, lol!). Next year, me and my husband will be moving from CO to the Pacific NW. I haven’t officially announced that one yet, but I feel mixed relief/weirdness about it. Everyone LOVES CO – except for me. When I lived in AK I couldn’t understand the people who hated it, but now I do – because I’m that person, haha. Big changes coming up for sure!


    1. Oh my goodness!! Big things happening out your way! I’m so curious what you didn’t like about Colorado. I recently visited a friend in Denver and felt somewhat disillusioned. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting but the way everyone talked it up I was expecting to love it.

      In so excited to hear about your trip to Peru. It is on my list for next year but I am somewhat faltering after my sensitivity to altitude while in Denver. I was nauseous the whole weekend…hmm, maybe that’s why I didn’t love it. 😉

      Can’t wait to hear about your Pacific NW move. Let me know where you land so I can come visit. I love it out there. 😁


  15. Wow. I love this. And I love being reminded of this. It’s something we forget all too often, even when we’ve experienced the same kind of synchronicity before. One step in the direction of your dreams and the path opens before you. I love it. Make the first move.

    Also, I LOVE the dog rule. I have two dogs and when I was a landlord, briefly, I would only rent to dog owners, too. Too few landlords do this, and I think it’s important, especia


    1. Yes! I love my dog but I hate that it’s hard to find decent housing. That being said, a lot of pets cause a lot of problems so I totally understand why landlords wouldn’t want them. I’m not a fan of tenants with cats after my own cat was a messy litter box kitty. That smell is awful!

      My point also comes from the experience of displacement. When my husband and I divorced, I was so grateful to have one of my units still available that I could move into. Had I bought that place and it didn’t allow pets I would have had to rent somewhere else while my until sat vacant. I thank my lucky stars that wasn’t the case!


  16. Wow – I love this. Makes me think of Covey’s work and focusing on what you can control. We get stuck in the “circles” sometimes and stay in the one where we keep wanting to change things and make things happen – but we aren’t the actual decision-makers. I hope she signs the contract and seals the deal!


    1. Exactly! Change is good. Change is good. Change is good. It’s almost like we have to keep chanting it to remember not to fall prey to comfort for comforts sake. There is nothing wrong with settling down, as long as you have given yourself the time and opportunity to explore. You don’t want to find yourself 40 years down the road saying “I wish I would have done….”.


  17. TheRetirementManifesto

    MM, congrats on getting the apt rented! It is SO weird how many things work like that. Happy it’s working out for you, and your “drain my accounts to buy it” place is going to start generating a return. Woot woot on the extra $200 above estimates, just icing on the cake. Congrats on making the first move, great message for all of us!


    1. Right?! I was thinking in 2007 rental rates but here we are 10 years later and I can jack it up! After a bit more research I have found that I can probably get more, but I would prefer a long term tenant so it’s a win win to keep it on the low side. Rentals are very valuable in my area right now. In fact, the building I almost bought in was just converted from condos back to rentals! The developer bought every single owner (about 60) out knowing with our tax hike the rental market is about to get crazy. Things are looking up!


    1. I LOVE my condo but am happy to finally get the OK to let it go. I feel like I have been in limbo for the past year, me at John’s but all of my stuff in the city. Time to shake things up and see how the dust settles. Still thinking about that camper for our back yard! Peace and quiet, my own bathroom, AND access to a normal shower/kitchen. What could be better? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Girl, I’m all about the signs and the weird and wonderful ways the universe collides with our grand plans (though rarely on our timeline).

    I’ve been procrastinating on something that I’m pushing GO on this week. I keep having crippling self doubt about putting something I’ve made out into the world, something I haven’t tried before, but I’m pushing past it.

    I’m also pushing past the fear into a big work change that I’ve committed to, happening this month … it’s so freaky not knowing what the future holds, changing things up, being unable to imagine/visualise what the days are going to hold.

    And I’ll say FWIW I was in a similar position when I decided to move out, oh, nearly 2 years ago now. Months and months finally came to a roaring head. And it was such a relief, I wished I had taken the leap earlier. (That story has a happy ending now, but that had to happen for things to change and for us to move forward.) Much love and strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so excited to see you are pushing forward as well! We tend to get stuck in a routine even when we know we don’t belong there. I think there is a big difference between trying to make things work as they are and knowing that we have the ability to ruffle our own feathers and change course if needed. In my case, complacency led me to be comfortable and the condo sat their like a safety net I could fall back on at any time. Removing that net will clarify a lot going forward such as what it is I want and how long am I willing to wait for it. Looking forward to the next YES from the Universe! 🙂


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