This post has been a long time in the making. It has evolved and changed a lot since I first typed it up. Living in our remodel has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done emotionally. Now that we are over the hump (read: I don’t have to do dishes in a bucket) I want to share some thoughts on the process. I’ve had lots of help and discussions on this post and I finally feel like it’s ready for you. Thanks for reading; I’m so excited to share this with you.
I had a little meltdown a while ago. Nothing big and messy, just a teary conversation with Thomas. Of course it was about our house and the fact that we still live like squatters after eight months in this house.
Once Thomas graduated, I imagined us moving on to bigger and better things: real life.
Fast forward two years and here we are living in half a house and making do with tight space and limited amenities. I don’t even have a kitchen sink, for crying out loud.
I know this is what I’ve chosen. We sacrificed in college so we could graduate debt-free. We bought this house so we could turn around, fix it up, and make a profit in order to pay off our land in Orderville and build our dream house one day. That’s our dream, and this is a step on our way to that. I know that.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to remember why I chose this. Sometimes I just want to live in a place I can be proud of—a place where I can express who I am and what I love. I want to decorate a room—paint the walls, hang a picture, buy furniture that matches the room and fits the space. I want a kitchen where I can prep, cook, and clean all in the same place—a place to create. I want a closet and cupboards so my things have a home.
I don’t just want them. I feel like I deserve them.
As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve realized that we all have dreams and we’re at different points on the path to those dreams. Dreams take time and steps. The pyramids weren’t built in a day and neither was my chicken coop. As long as I’m on the path and moving forward, I’m going the right way. I don’t have lots of what I want, but I do have parts of it. I am collecting my dream piece by piece. Case in point: I have chickens! I have wanted chickens for years and I got them just a few weeks ago. They are part of my dream (a stinky but egg-producing part)
1. Take joy in the journey. I know I’ll look back at this time and see the things I was meant to learn. It’s one of those things that I’ll be grateful for having done but would never choose to repeat.
2. Focus on the blessings. Life could always be worse. In my family, we have the light of the gospel in our lives, we are healthy, and we have each other. I’m not alone in my dream and the journey to reach it. Thomas and I have the same vision and the same goals. I refer to our pillow-talk time as when we “dream our dreams.” We love to plan, talk, and envision all of the things we want for ourselves. I also have my babies. They are why I have the dreams I do. They are also terribly fun companions; I would be so lonely without my kids.
3. See the big picture. I struggle with realizing that life is a phase. Nothing is permanent—things ebb and flow. That’s life. I have gotten good at remembering this with my kids (they grow out of everything—the good, the bad, and the clothes), but I have to remember that about myself, too. Things will change. They always do.
4. Don’t forget the important things. I’ve seen an object lesson that involves a cup of beans, ping-pong balls, and a glass jar. First, the beans are poured into the jar and then you try to add the ping-pong balls. The balls don’t fit. The jar is emptied, the ping-pong balls are added first and then the beans are poured over the top, filling in the gaps. This time, everything fits. The object of the lesson is that when you put the important things in your life first (ping-pong balls) then all of the other things fit around them. I have to remember my personal ping-pong balls of prayer, scripture study, and family recreation and then all the other things will fit. I’m not sure why this works, but I know it does. It must be one of those laws of the universe. It just works. Every time.
5. What-ifs and comparisons just aren’t worth the time. What-ifs aren’t productive and comparisons are even less productive. Must. Not. Do.
I believe we really can be happy regardless of the situation we’re in (even when the situation may include doing dishes in a bucket). These are things I want to focus on, and hopefully they’ll help you be happy in your situation, too, even if you haven’t quite reached your dream yet.