Long term renovations - Giving yourself credit for the work and the progress
My hubby and I have been renovating our house for what feels like forever. Actually, it’s been a pretty slow and casual process up until the last few months when the OMG-the-baby-is-actually-coming reality set in and we decided to finally get that new kitchen we’d been planning since we moved into the house.
Pete LOVES this kind of thing. He’s super handy, so can do a lot himself, but also loves the whole dealing with tradies, getting quotes, finding deals, buying materials thing which is awesome. He can be a little bit distracted by shiny objects (like suddenly deciding he wants to tile the downstairs bathroom by himself while we’re in the middle of trying to do the kitchen) and does like to do the big picture thinking that sometimes leaves the day-to-day logistics and execution a little behind the 8-ball (he’s a Pisces). But since I’ve learnt that about him I’ve been able to focus on keeping him on track for any big projects like this.
I’ve manned the brushes and done enough painting (walls, window frames, cornices, skirting boards) to hope I never have to open another tin of the stuff in my life.
As with any reno’ project, and especially with something like a kitchen where so many different trades have to come in, in a certain order, it’s taken a liiiiiittle bit longer than we first expected (plus painting walls at 8 months pregnant becomes a sloooooow process.)
We pulled the old kitchen out, everything but the kitchen sink (haha), and ‘camped’ in our own house with a little portable electric cooktop for a few weeks. But for the main bulk of the project we’ve been living with my mum and dad.
At first it was for a couple of weeks while they were away on holidays, but then the timeline extended and extended until 6 weeks later we’ve only just moved home again in the last 2 days.
The prospect of moving back in with my folks did have me a little worried; not from Pete’s perspective, he’s so chilled out and gets on with my mum and dad so well it was never going to faze him. I was more worried about myself.
I moved out of home at 18 to a massive sigh of relief from the rest of my family. I’d reached a point where living under the same roof as my mum and my sister us having a good relationship; I was 18, I was an adult, I knew exactly what I was doing and really didn’t appreciate input from anyone, especially my mum. I also wasn’t really into the whole patience, tolerance and consideration of others thing; I was a bit more ‘all about me’ :P. It was time for a little more space for us all.
Not long after that I was off on my version of the traditional Aussie gap year in the UK, where I managed to pick up a lovely little souvenir, aka future husband. Heading home after the excitement and experiences of living and travelling in Europe there was no question in my mind of settling back into little ol’ Newcastle. I needed more, bigger, busier, so Sydney was the easy and natural choice.
At that point I really couldn’t see myself ever moving home, but fast forward a decade (which is literally what it feels like now) and the decision to move back here last year is one of the best things we’ve ever done.
I LOVE being close to my family. I LOVE the pace, the lack of traffic and the creative, foodie hub that Newcastle has become. (If you haven’t been for a visit you should come check it out, we also happen to have the most beautiful beaches in the country, not that I’m biased or anything ;)).
Being close by and seeing my folks on a really regular basis has been amazing, and these days my mum and I couldn’t have a stronger, closer relationship - but living under the same roof again, that could be a recipe for disaster!
In the 12+ years since I left home I’ve become pretty used to my own space, I’ve got my own routines and ways of doing things. Pete and I have our own little synchronisation that I completely adore. I work from home, and mum is semi-retired, so how would we/I cope with cohabiting?
But here’s the thing - I’m not the person that I was when I was 18 (and thank god, because what a waste of 12 years that would have been! Plus, as you might be able to tell, I wasn’t the most pleasant person back then :P)
Living with mum and dad has been fantastic, and spending all of this time with my mum while I’m pregnant has been so, so special and it’s something that we’ll never have the opportunity to do again. As I’ve been getting a bit slower, and tireder it’s also been pretty amazing to have my mum and dad doting on me :).
The point is I’ve realised that I haven’t been giving myself credit for my own work.
Moving home has really shone a light on the full extent of this soul journey I’ve been on and it’s given me a sense of clarity on how far I’ve come.
When we’re constantly taking small steps forward (or, if you’re like me, doing more of a cha cha with a couple forward and one back) it’s easy to lose sight of the full picture, the total progress.
We give ourselves a mini pat on the back for an ‘a-ha’ moment, but then quickly move on to the next point of focus, the next area for improvement.
But when was the last time you stepped back and really looked at the long-term journey?
It’s a lot like renovating (haha! I love it when an analogy comes full circle!) - when you’re in the thick of it all you see is the chaos and all the little bits and pieces that still need to be done; it’s not until someone who hasn’t seen the house for ages comes around and reminds you of where you were when you started that you realise just how much you’ve already achieved.
Don’t forget the full scope of the project, or, in this instance, your journey. Whether it’s in your life, in your business or in a house reno’; don’t wait for someone else to point it out to you, take some time to step back and admire the full picture.
Write it in your journal, meditate on it, or just take a few minutes to reflect next time you’re stuck in traffic.
Credit where credit’s due lovely one, so give it to yourself. It’s time to go back and really compare your before and after shots!