About Me

I Turned 40 and I Bought a House

I turned 40 on June 9. That very same day, I bought a house. I was originally supposed to close on May 29, but a lot of people are trying to take advantage of low-interest mortgages right now so it was pushed out a bit. I couldn’t be upset about the change; I’ll never be able to forget the date.

I’ll answer some questions right off the bat:

My husband and I live and work in DC.

The house is located in Richmond, VA (about 100 miles away).

We plan to maintain our apartment (and jobs) and DC.

We’ll live in the Richmond house part-time once renovations are complete.

It’s definitely a fixer-upper (it needs a new roof, front porch, siding, windows, interior work, etc), so don’t judge the exterior right now. It will look much better soon.

Some of you know that I lived in Richmond for eight years (late teens through mid-20s) and graduated from VCU. But at this point in my life, my four siblings are my biggest connection to Richmond — three of them live in the city itself (my new house is 3-4 miles from each of them) and the fourth lives in a neighboring county.

I’ve been looking for a house for almost a year. After seeing some properties in person (and viewing some virtually with my fantastic realtor), I finally found what I was looking for. This bungalow is around 700 sq ft, with a small front and back yard (I dislike yard work), and a good walk score. It was built in 1920 so it’s exactly 100 years old.

I spent almost three weeks in Richmond after I closed on my house (I stayed at my sister Elissa’s house nearby), and I met with a ton of contractors. I haven’t officially hired anyone yet, but quotes are starting to roll in and I plan to make some decisions soon so I can go from talk to action.

With that announcement out of the way, here are some additional thoughts and updates:

This is the first non book-related post I’ve written since October 2018, when I shared the decision I made to change my last name back to my maiden name after four years of marriage.

The last non book-related post prior to that was October 2017, when I announced I’d left Buffalo after four years and was once again living in Washington, DC.

I sold my ugly car in May 2019 (it was 17 years old at the time) and so far, it has not been replaced. The location of my DC apartment makes it annoying to own a car because of street sweeping. For over a year I’ve been using public transportation, bicycles, rideshare, car rentals, and trains to get where I need to go. I love it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to remain car-free once I start spending more time in Richmond, but I’m not in a rush.

After working as an Executive Assistant for multiple companies over the years, I landed at a global women’s health nonprofit in March 2018 and it’s hands-down my favorite job ever. It really makes a difference when you like what you do (and have enough to do, which has historically been a problem), and you like the people you work with, and best of all, you feel valued. I’ve been given responsibilities at this job that I’ve never had before, and it makes me feel useful and empowered.

Along with so many others, I’ve been working exclusively from home since mid-March. I’ve worked from home before with other jobs, but never more than a few days at a time (I think my longest stretch of time was a week in early 2010 when DC was under three feet of snow). Unsurprisingly, I love it. I miss some of the interaction with my co-workers, but the positives of working from home outweigh the negatives — most notably, it’s quiet in my apartment so I can work without distraction. I have a large monitor and an ergonomic desk chair. It’s going very well.

For the past year, whenever I thought about celebrating my 40th birthday, I dreamed about taking some time off work to visit a new-to-me-location. That obviously isn’t happening right now, but at least the new house has kept me occupied. I’ll schedule a trip for another time.

I’m not upset about turning 40. I like my life, and I feel positive about the way it has unraveled so far. I’ve had regrets over the years about time wasted, things I wanted to do that I didn’t, or careers I might have pursued. I don’t expect that to change; most of us can identify alternate life paths we might have led if a relatively minor decision had been made differently. But I ended up here, and here is a pretty good place to be.

Have I left out anything you’d like to know? Ask away.

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  • Reply Theresa Gough July 2, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Well you lived in Buckingam longer and would love to find you a house here. My question; when are you coming back for a visit? Sure do miss my Marcuson kids

  • Reply Carl Flemister July 2, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Zan, Congratulations on your house purchase! I have maintained contact with an old friend of my mom’s who owns a company who is expert at remodels. If you’re interested in another quote I can send you his info!

    • Reply Bridget Yancey July 3, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Congratulations I remember us all being kids and playing while our moms talked about church one of the best times was when we came to visit y’all. I remember y’all at my wedding. Seems just like yesterday but I know it’s not. Congratulations on your new adventure. Do you have any advice on jobs for someone that has a bachelors degree in healthcare administration by chance ?

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