The 5 of Swords
Getting what you want has to come at a cost
Today I am walking through treacle.
We got the news we were expecting, but both, by some unspoken and secretive marital agreement, were pretending we might never actually have to hear. The French bank has declined our renovation mortgage application.
Having now exhausted the grand total of two banks in the entirety of France that will consider loaning Brits any less than €150k, we are faced with two remaining options:
Scrabble and scrape to find enough cash to buy the place outright, or
let it go*, and try and find something we can more affordably buy in cash.
(*Our contract had a get-out clause, should we be declined for our mortgage, so this ought to be possible without penalty)
Both options present equal amounts of temptation and dismay.
Borrowing enough to buy it outright will create more financial discomfort than we’d intended, or would like - if indeed, it is even possible at all. It means borrowing money from a tangle of different sources, all of which we’d need to repay on a much shorter term. It would also mean basically zero funds for renovations in the immediate future - fine, if they’re optional or cosmetic, but more of an issue should the roof or electrics demand some immediate attention unasked.
Buying something more affordable feels immediately safer, but brings big and unavoidable compromise. We either buy smaller, or something uninhabitable - I lean towards the latter but acknowledge all of the bonus expense, stress and drama that would inevitably bring.
Briefly, I found a window of optimism in a newly listed longere - sure, it had significantly less indoor and outdoor space than in my imagination, but it was delightfully dilapidated inside. By which I mean, that rustic, humble and beautiful kind of dilapidation - not the peeling 70s wallpaper and inch-deep black mould that the majority of the cheaper old houses have to offer up.
Aesthetically, this house was in fact miles ahead of the one we are actually trying to buy! Box in a few electrical cables and I’d call it done!
Tres moi, n’est pas?
Well, apparently the universe thought ‘non’, because, as I scrambled to find flights and contact the estate agent to arrange an urgent viewing, the heartsinking word ‘sous offre’ appeared on the listing online. Under offer. Somebody else had got there first.
Whenever I’m impatient to know the ‘right’ answers (and shirking my responsibility to decide them for myself), I pick up my tarot deck, briefly discarding all my scientific scepticism and deciding now, in this moment, I will believe whatever blessed dependable future it predicts.
The card I pulled for The French House situation was no less than painful in its accuracy - V of Swords. Unbridled ambition. Pushing for victory at any cost. Me? Surely not?
(this, by the way, is how the Tarot cards always work, IME - they don’t tell your future, they tell you your present, and provoke self-reflection and uncomfortable honesty with yourself).
Dissatisfied with that answer I drew again, and this time was offered the IX of Wands. Exhuastion. Reaching burnout. ‘Push forward, there is only a little bit left in your journey’.
And so, there is my choice. If I want it, the house may very well be fingertip-brushing distance away. I can push forward and find an end. But at what cost?
At the cost of financial anxiety, hard choices, additional compromise to come. The cost of ‘maybe’ - maybe the next house is even better. Maybe the original house will come back on the market tomorrow. Maybe it’s all meant to follow some golden fairytale path.
For all I lean on it in times of emotional overwhelm, I don’t think it’s fate that holds the cards to decide how this next chapter plays out. All of that is up to me, in the end - the thoughts I decide to believe, the decisions I choose to make, and the way I support myself in honouring those decisions once the dye has been cast.
I might not have made up my mind just yet, but I can already know that it will be the right choice.
I've definitely been guilty of pulling another card in the hopes of getting a "better one," only to see the initial pull reinforced. I'm so excited to read about the next chapter of your journey, now that you do indeed have your French house!
I haven't read your lately stories but I have one thing with me: if doesn't work the way we expected it's because there is something better for us!
Good luck Sara!