Recently my fiancé and I purchased our first home. We feel blessed to have bought a low-priced home in an incredible neighborhood during one of the most competitive real estate periods in history. That being said, the house is a bit of a fixer-upper. Some of the fixes are out of necessity–think water-damaged walls and a broken faucet–while others are for comfort like getting air conditioning, new floors, removing wood paneling, and painting. Luckily, my future father-in-law is a contractor, so he knows a thing or two about fixing things the right way. Yet, even with his professional advice and help (help is a major understatement), I’ve been feeling incredibly anxious.
Are we going to get everything done before moving in? Will we have enough help? Will we have enough money? Will we discover something unexpected, like a giant mold monster living in the walls? How would we cover that cost? Am I forgetting to do something important…like make the next payment for our wedding?
I’ve never been very good at procrastinating. At school, I was admired for getting projects done weeks before the deadline, and at work, I’m known for working at neck-break speed. The truth is, if I know there’s a project to be done, I can’t relax until it is. This is why a project like a home renovation is a nightmare. There’s no way I can do it all myself. And there’s no way I can get it all done in one day. While at the office during the week, I feel like a sitting–very worried–duck.
There are things people say to do when you’re feeling anxious. Practice gratitude. Live in the present. Distract yourself. While all of these things are great and have relieved many of my anxieties over the years, in this case, they didn’t. If anything, I felt worse because my usual methods to cultivate optimism were failing.
Then my favorite podcast released an episode entitled, “Finding Peace in a Stressed-out World” and I wasted no time in checking it out.
In the podcast, one of the hosts is struggling to raise her young children while potty-training their new puppy. She said that something that helps her feel better is to remember to find the fun in everything.
(^That’s the sound of my brain literally shifting gears)
I don’t know when things will get done. I don’t know what the final cost will be-just that we have a strict budget and will have to make cuts to our list of projects if need be. These are all variables beyond my control. But what I can control is how much fun I’m allowing myself to have throughout the renovation process. And gosh darn it, I like to have fun–even if my fiancé won’t allow me to blast The Greatest Showman soundtrack while we work 😉 .
Worries still creep into my mind on occasion, and that’s ok. The important thing is, I now know how to mitigate them.
To me, finding the fun means not taking everything so seriously so that I can enjoy the journey as well as the destination. It means finding joy in every moment–from each brushstroke to each deep clean of the endlessly greasy stove.
It’s such a special season in my life and I no longer want to spoil it with anxiety. One day my fiancé and I will look back at this moment, and be grateful for our efforts. One day we will laugh at how in over our heads we sometimes felt, and smile because we were in over our heads together.