I don’t recognise the bends in the road as we approach. I don’t recognise the upcoming houses, trees or neighbours. I don’t recognise the local church or pub.
I don’t recognise any of it with the familiarity of somewhere you’d call home and yet I feel a deep sense of love as I get out of the car and see the SOLD sign at the end of the drive.
Behind that, my new home.
Over the last few weeks I keep having memories from my Grandma’s house as a child. We moved around a lot but my Grandma and Grandpa stayed put. They owned their own house and it was a big deal. All of us gathered there for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. We had 4th of July celebrations and enjoyed the swimming pool in the Texas heat. I loved that home. It wasn’t mine but it was the closest thing I’d ever had to feeling settled.
Buying a house is no small matter. It’s always seemed particularly difficult to me for people in England. I’ve been saving for 18 years and finally have enough money, with the help of my partner and family, to invest in my first home.
I observe the house with a smile on my face. I did it. It’s a strange feeling for me. For years and years I told myself that I would never own a home. I said I’d never be able to afford it. I didn’t have the luxury of living with parents while I saved. I’d never save enough for the deposit. Even if I could, I wouldn’t be able to settle in one place. I’ve moved around my whole life. I’m just not made to own a home. I don’t deserve it. It’s not me.
I pick at the fiddly wallpaper that I’m stripping. The steamer has smogged the whole room and my glasses are slipping to the end of my nose as I juggle the steamer in one hand and a scraper in the other. I feel an immense sense of pride at calling these walls my own.
It’s strange when, fundamentally, you understand a concept very well but you’ve never actually lived it or experienced it. You feel like an expert in something but you’re blind.
Like love, for example. You can understand that it exists. You can feel like an expert from reading novels and watching films throughout childhood but you’ll never fully understand it until you experience it. Once you go through the process of love, your eyes are opened and whole new layers of the world exist. It’s so much more complicated than you first thought.
Over recent years, I’ve had this transformation with the idea that our limits are only as big as our minds let them be. Of course, I’d heard this before and felt I understood the concept, but I didn’t fully comprehend it until putting it into practice.
My first test in this was running. I’d always said I couldn’t do long distance running. That’s not me. I’m more of a 3 to 4 miles kinda gal. I don’t have the lungs or the legs for anything more.
I began to hate that these were the first thoughts that ran through my head whenever someone asked “how far can you run?”, “have you ever considered doing a marathon?”
I got fed up of my mindset. I was fed up of telling myself I can’t do something. I
made a conscious effort to challenge my thinking. I began training.
I’d change into my running clothes after work and run 3 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 8 miles.
When people asked why I was training for a half-marathon, I explained to them that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. “So you’re not associated with a charity?” they’d ask in puzzlement.
I’d smile to myself, tighten the laces of my soggy trainers and run into the English rain. I knew I wanted to push my limits mentally more than physically.
Finishing my half marathon was empowering for me. It forced me to change the way I think about life’s challenges. I can do anything if I really put the dedication in. More importantly, I can do anything if I really believe that I can do it.
Buying a home was a whole other step. There were a lot of limiting beliefs for me. I had to break down a lot of negative beliefs about money, saving and worthiness. I know for a lot of people, it sounds ridiculous to think that the biggest obstacle in buying a home is believing that you can own a home but when I broke it all down, it was as simple as that. For 35 years, I told myself I could never own a home and I didn’t own a home. For 1 year, I told myself I could own a home and guess what? In that year, I bought my first home.
I know, life’s more complicated than that. There will be obstacles that try and stop you. But it is the belief that will get you past them.
I’ve tested this concept on a few things over the last couple of years. I’ve picked an area that I have limiting beliefs and I’ve worked on shifting my mindset. I’ve set a plan and I’ve taken action. So far, every time I’ve changed my mindset, I’ve changed my reality.
I know that if I really believe I can do something, I can. I know we all can.
That’s a good enough reason to work through some of those old beliefs that are outdated. What are you going to challenge?