Boxes, Scaffolding and the Absence of Struggle

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I posted on social media recently that being less active online usually means I’m more active in the real world. The past couple weeks have been ACTIVE! Contractors started work on the outside of the house. I was painting walls after work and moving furniture around inside the house to prepare for more furniture and boxes arriving this past Friday. The house is officially full, and I’m pleased to announce that future house guests will have beds to sleep in!

The dogs weren’t too sure about losing all of that empty space to run around in, but I think they’re adapting. We do have 60 acres outside to run around in! I also took a minute to start the next phase of my home office setup. The rest of the room is a wreck of boxes and random items that need to find their place, but at least this corner looks finished.

A huge step has been completed, but of course, there’s more to do. Every room has stacks of boxes waiting to be unpacked. It’s easy to wonder where it will all go; older houses aren’t known for their ample storage space (people owned far less stuff 120 years ago). Still, I’m excited to enter this next phase of making this house a home.

Dance took a backseat while the house demanded so much of my energy. I missed two Saturdays of Zumba classes, but still made it to Monday ballet. I was glad I went, but my mind wasn’t fully at the barre.

There was a time when I would have been frustrated about my normal schedule being disrupted and cranky on top of that because I was physically tired from the extra house work. Now, it feels more in flow. My attention needed to be at home and so it was. I’ll get back to dancing when it’s time to get back to dancing. I’m tired and there is still so much more work to do and each day, we make progress.

As I’ve lived longer on this planet, I’ve noticed my patience for people and things that waste my time and energy has all but disappeared. On the flip side, I feel more patience when it comes to people and projects that align with who I am. This old house needs a lot of work that’s going to take a long time, but I feel so much peace living here, even among the scaffolding and stacks of boxes. The hard work is present, but I’ve managed to detach the struggle.

I first separated hard work and struggle on my dance journey. My love for dance made the hard work worthwhile and so the stress and anxiety of struggle faded away. There is a feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment that comes with the blood, sweat and tears because I’m working toward something that brings me joy. Some dance days are still a struggle, especially when the doubts play tricks on my mind, but most days, I go to the studio ready to work. Noticing the steps of progress along the way helps keep the struggle absent because I get to enjoy the benefits of my hard work.

Just like the confidence I gained in dance bled into other areas of my life, this separation of hard work and struggle has had an effect on the journey to turn this house into my idyllic Maine Woods home. Perfect timing too because my patience will certainly be tested when my home office becomes unusable while workers are hammering away at the roof above it! The scaffolding is already set up outside the windows. But instead of dreading over this inevitability and creating more stress for myself, I ordered new wireless earbuds* with active noise cancellation. I notified my colleagues that I may take some conference calls while walking through my woods (so don’t mind the background sounds of birds or crunching leaves). With the separation of hard work and struggle, major disruptions turn into minor inconveniences or merely puzzles to solve. I’m pretty good at solving puzzles!

So the journey continues. I wouldn’t have predicted that this is where I would be on that journey after arriving in Maine nine months ago, but that’s part of the adventure. Tune in next week to see what happens next!

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