Going through home renovation has been an enlightening experience. I had heard stories of renovation taking over one’s life, but I never fully realized the extent of this. I have had a wonderful experience with the people doing the work in my home – no horror stories here about poor quality or surly workers. In fact, as renovations go, this has been a wonderful experience. My home has been filled with friendly, professional people whose presence is welcome.
We began this project as a response to my husband’s fall in a small, cluttered kitchen. I was also acquiring a permanent bruise on my hip from colliding with the breakfast bar! It was time to do something about all the repairs we had delayed, the adaptations needed for medical needs, and preparing for a long stay in the home we have come to love.
What I didn’t realize is how much time is spent repairing and redoing the home. Staying home all day has meant tending to two dogs while answering questions, making decisions, and hoping that I have chosen well. Making choices that would have significant impact gave me a major case of insecurity. I thought and rethought every decision. Should I have chosen the linen color of paint or the off-white? Who knew there were so many variations of off-white! Well, yes, I’ve seen the paint chips before, but suddenly this was a major decision I would have to live with. I discovered that I needed to become more confident in my own instincts.
We all go through times when one issue dominates our lives, requiring tough choices and prioritization. My response to a series of basic choices brought me to new thoughts. During times of tough choices, we easily miss the personal insights hidden within. They are the refining fire that turns our backbone to silvery steel. We come face-to-face with ourselves.
I would much rather be writing in my comfortable corner. However, this had to be put aside so I could focus on one major project at a time. This worked well until one day – unrelated to renovation – we lost our internet connection. After many frustrating interactions with our provider, we decided to change to another one. Oddly, I did not mind choosing to go offline for the renovation, but I went ballistic when the choice was made for me by the disruption of internet service. Does this make me a control freak? I hope not! I also learned that I would rather write than tend to daily living tasks. Clearly I need to balance life more effectively. I need to take care of practical needs as well as personal, internal needs.
After all the angst of what color paint to use, a simple act of free choice, the loss of choice drove me over the edge. I missed my Facebook friends. I missed my Twitter friends. I missed my email. I missed coming and going as I pleased. I discovered that even when I have to delay gratification, I want to choose for myself. Over the past month, I have gone from uncertain to confident. Wow!
I also came up against some hard realities. I do have many chronic medical conditions, the worst of which is fibromyalgia. To meet the schedules of others – painters, plumbers, roofers, electricians, and family – I was too quick to ignore my own needs for rest and nutrition.
I think it’s time to renovate me, not the house!