When I was in graduate school studying counseling psychology, I remember telling my practicum mentor that I asked a client what she was looking forward to.
He said, “That’s actually a great question.”
Because lethargy and malaise are typical symptoms of depression. My question gets to the heart of the matter. Depressed people are typically not looking forward to anything.
In my own life, whether or not I’m looking forward to anything is one of the barometers by which I measure my own mental health. The last few months have been wonderful but kind of hard too. I haven’t been depressed, but I have felt stuck: I had sent a manuscript for a book I’ve spent the last three years researching and writing to a friend and acquisitions editor. She was the one who asked me to send it to her, but three and half months went by without any response. I hate waiting. When she finally did respond she said she loved my book but said it didn’t fit her publishing house’s niche. She suggested some publishers that might want to see it.
So then I talked to an agent to see if she would represent me again. She sold my first book. She’s a terrific agent who has tons of clients; she’s saving her time and energy for superstars. She asked me to send her my proposal. It’s been a month . . . and I sit and wait to hear.
So yeah, I’ve needed something interesting, distracting, fun, something to look forward to.
I love people, and I like being hospitable. Over the years we’ve had many guest in our home.
I’m not exactly sure how it happened but I started wondering what kinds of people use the home sharing tool called AirBnB. (I have a curious mind so I’m always wondering about something.) I think I downloaded the app and studied the kinds of people that are renting rooms or homes here in my hometown of Littleton, Colorado.
Ironically, a week later, Dateline: On Assignment featured a story about Brian Chesky who started AirBnB. He was living in an apartment in San Francisco with roomates, flat broke, and a convention was coming to town. Hotels were overbooked. He and his roomates decided to buy some air mattresses and offer a cheap place to stay with a quick breakfast. What impressed me most was when he described how quickly he bonded with the people that stayed there. Eight years later, his company is worth 27 billion dollars! His personal worth is $3 billion.
A couple days after watching Dateline, I booked a place on Airbnb in Breckenridge so I could spent time with a friend for her 50th birthday. My initial thoughts were, “Well these 20-something hosts aren’t doing anything fancy, they’re simply letting people rent a room, and all the guests are raving about how nice and interesting they are.”
What the heck, I decided to investigate, so I downloaded a $4 Kindle book called Make Money on Airbnb by Sally Miller. The book was short and sweet and made it seem doable. So I ordered another book Get Paid for Your Pad by Jasper Ribbers and Huzefa Kapadia.
That’s when it all clicked. Airbnb works because of mutual trust.
Hosts vet guests and guests vet hosts. After each stay, both sides write a short review. And because of the reviews most people are on their best behavior. The next two nights I dreamed about being a host.
So last weekend I tippy toed into Airbnb hosting. It was easy. The first screen said, “Want to be a host?” I clicked yes. The next page said, “What type of place do you want to rent?” (Entire house, private room, shared room). I clicked private room. Ten minutes later my house was featured on Airbnb and given priority because it was a new listing.
The cool thing is I can choose the filters and edit any time. I can turn it off, block off days on the calendar, set the price, add a cleaning fee, choose only people with a high star rating, limit to people with lots of reviews, etc.
Another wonderful feature is that Airbnb insures each guest stay for a million dollars so if anyone damages my house, I’m covered.
Two days after my house was listed, I got my first reservation. She’s a nurse and massage therapist who is coming to town for training. She’s staying one night. She looks really nice, and her bio makes her sound like a fascinating person.
Am I nervous? A little, but mostly excited.
Yesterday, I met with a sweet young gal who ironically owns a house four houses away from our first home. She’s been renting a room on Airbnb for the last year to help pay for her kids’ college expenses. At an outdoor Mexican restaurant, while eating chips and salsa, she shared with me the ups and downs of her Airbnb experience. She said she has never felt scared. Her guests were mostly young 20-something girls traveling across the country (“Airbnb is really trendy in the 20-something crowd.”) The worst stories she shared were: Two rocket scientists men wanted to sit at my kitchen table all day in their pajamas while doing work, and one guy wanted to use my stove and made a greasy mess. The best piece of advice she gave me was to be very clear about what I will and won’t allow in my home and to show lots of photos so people know what they are getting.
I haven’t actually had my first visitor—she arrives next Tuesday. She’ll arrive after six o’clock and leave in the morning. Like I said, money isn’t my motivating factor for what I do in life, but that extra money will be helpful as my husband and I finance our 30th anniversary trip. Plus, I’ll bet I meet some interesting people which will help my writing life.
So, I’m waiting to see what happens with my book, of course I’m still counseling clients (still loving it!), and I have something new and interesting happening my life.
Something to look forward to.
Do you have something you’re looking forward to?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
*If you’re interested in hosting on Airbnb, here’s a referral link you can use.
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."