Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Fear of Starting

We are in the middle of some pretty big, house disrupting, home projects right now.  The kind where our master bedroom is all prepped, furniture in the middle of the room, and half-way painted (and has been for a few weeks) and almost our entire downstairs is torn up to redo flooring.  And the small portion that isn't torn up downstairs is holding all the furniture from the torn-up bits.

Suffice it to say, our house is a bit of a mess at the moment.  A big, hot, hard to live life here, mess.

We've done big home projects before, this is far from the first.  That was repainting the entire outside of our house but that didn't change much on the inside so while it was a ton of work and a lot of late nights, life on the inside was pretty normal.

Next was tearing out plaster and drywalling our stairs. If you've ever torn out plaster you don't need me to say anymore.  If you haven't, well consider yourself lucky (unless you are planning to tear some out.  Then, I'm so so sorry.)  That was pretty house disrupting, getting dust all over EVERYTHING (you can see the mess here), affecting a part of the house we are in daily.  

Then came the biggest home project we've taken on yet.  Completely gutting and remodeling our only bathroom.  Only shower/tub.  Only toilet.  At it's worst, and DONE 6 weeks later.  Let me tell you, 6 weeks is a LONG TIME to live without a fully functioning toilet or shower (we were only toilet-less 6 days, for the rest of the 6 weeks it was hooked up but we had to dump buckets of water to flush it which is livable). 

We've lived through many home projects and have been so pleased with all the outcomes.  They always cost more money, always take more time, but the results are usually even more satisfying. 

And as much work as it all is, I think the worst part is always in the starting. 

It's really hard to psych yourself up to live with a house torn up, furniture in the wrong rooms, extra dust, tv not hooked up for movie night.  It's not an easy thing to start, at all. 

I like putting things away; our house is pretty tidy during quiet time and after Luke's in bed and I really like it like that.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.  I can think better when the house is cleaned up.  It's really hard for me to take the first steps to undo it all, even if I am really excited about the outcomes. 

I can easily give myself mini panic attacks, thinking about all the things that need to happen before life is back to "normal".  When we were thinking about taking Luke skiing 6 weeks ago I initially couldn't process the idea of going on a whim of a trip, teaching a 3 year old how to ski.  My mind just shut down trying to think through it all.  I finally agreed to go by just thinking of it one step at a time. First was just getting packed for 24 hours.  Then once we were packed, hotel reservation made, supper eaten, it wasn't too bad to think about loading up the car, then doing the driving, then checking into the hotel, then getting everyone in bed.  Taking it in pieces made it all much easier.  Getting started, deciding, making the reservation and packing, small steps, made the rest happen. 

It's the same when we are doing these home projects.  When I was getting ready to paint the trim in our room I was really overwhelmed.  So I started with taping off the floor.  That's all I did on a Saturday when I had a bunch of other things going on.  Just taped the floor.  It took about 20 minutes.  Once the floor was taped I didn't have any excuses not to start the painting the next weekend.  Life was already a little disrupted in there and now I had to see it through to conclusion.  The first step was the hardest, mentally. 

We've been talking about our front room floors for years.  Seriously considering tearing up the carpet and refinishing the floors seriously for 8 months.  We love how the porch floor turned out.  Having that torn up was a big enough pain.  Now we are looking at probably 75% of our downstairs.  Starting was NOT easy.

I kept telling myself, it's only two weeks.  It should mostly be over in two weeks.  You just have to start.  You just have to start.

So I started. 

One night when Matt was sitting with Luke as he (Luke) was taking FOREVER to finish his supper, I started.  The little stuff.  Luke's trucks that sit on the carpet went to his room.  Storage ottomans to my office.  Parts of my craft storage (also under a revamp at the moment) to the porch.  My Target return pile to the Jeep.  Somehow, that 10 minutes of work (before I sat down to write this post) made for a huge shift in my mind.

Now I had started.  Now the house was (more) torn up.  Things were already out of place.  The idea of really getting started, moving the big furniture, pulling up the carpet, pulling up tack strips, pulling up staples, all that didn't seem so bad once I made the 10 minute start.

It was a really small part of what will be a many hour, many day project.  A teeny tiny drop in the bucket.  But somehow, just doing those small things was the hardest step to take.

That's a helpful lesson to remember.  Starting almost anything new can be overwhelming.  But once you start, it's usually pretty easy to keep going.  Or at least have renewed motivation to keep making small steps.  And those small steps add up, things get done, and you barely remember when the house was torn up or you were stressed about adoption calls or whatever.  Starting is half the battle. 

So just start.
Note: the front room most definitely does not look like this anymore... 

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