No one likes to live through the process of doing a significant home improvement. But we all crave the result.
This is what our dining room looked like when we were most of the way through having our floors refinished and walls painted. You can see we managed to move the piano back in, not an easy task. You can also see there were several annoying tasks left to be done: removing the painter’s tape. Moving the china cabinet back in, along with the china, and trying not to break anything in the process. Adding crown molding, which we’ve postponed for several months.
Living through this process meant that we had no access to our living and dining rooms for much of October, and limited access in November until we found time here and there to get things back in place. Today my husband and I would probably both tell you it was so worth it. And we would also say having it done (finished, finitio) is so much better than going through having it done.
So many things in life are only tolerable because we’re able to maintain a vision of what we hope the result to look like. Because we preserved an image of a home with refinished hardwood floors in the place of ratty old carpet (not to mention a replastered ceiling after removing the old drop ceiling), we were able to accept the compromises that come with living in transition: having extra stuff packed into the bedrooms…not being able to watch movies in our living room. Because we had a vision we were moving towards, though, we could put those sacrifices in perspective. After all, they were temporary.
I can often be impatient about living in transition in the context of my own personal development–which is, of course, most of the time. I am never a finished product. But I dislike weathering the discomfort of opening myself up to being molded. How will I look and feel after a change has occurred?
Old habits can be so comfortable that I’m tempted to resurrect them long after I know better. Why not worry and future-trip…won’t that make me powerful and solve everything? Once I have started practicing a new behavior, it takes awhile before it feels “good” or comfortable like the old one did. Like wearing a new pair of boots.
Today I believe there’s grace in waiting, not knowing, becoming, discovering, uncovering, practicing. There’s a beautiful paradox in having a vision of my best self and best life that I’m growing into, yet not really knowing, and staying open to the unknown, that gives me faith to persevere. I have many great teachers along the way who keep me on track.
Even if the process of change can feel icky, today I recognize if a behavior feels new and uncomfortable, I am probably doing something right.
In the case of our home upgrades, the sacrifices paid off. We no longer have pink walls and ’70’s-era carpeting. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is.