As many of you are well aware of, or perhaps are yet to find out, being a part of a renovation has its rewards and pitfalls. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing something you’ve created come to fruition. Every wall, every thought process that ended up actually making sense or working out, every finish choice, every colour…yes, it’s exhilarating and motivating indeed. It’s the process of getting there that’s tedious, taxing and downright difficult to say the least. Renovations are never a smooth, start-to-finish process. There’s been a lot of sweat and fears so far (yes, I meant fears). Okay, I’ll admit it. The occasional tear here and there too. It’s tested my patience like never before, and it’s tested Aaron’s and my relationship in new ways.
When you’re starting a life with someone, there’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot to adjust to. This renovation has definitely helped us to learn how to work together and how not to step on each other’s toes (steel toes, that is). We’ve been learning how to handle moments of high stress together and how to balance time, our relationship, our jobs and everything else that we have to do. We’ve learned a lot more about one another and, even though it’s been a difficult ride thus far, I’m learning to love him more with every passing day. There’s nothing better than taking on a major work project to test your relationship. Whether it’s your work styles or ethic, your communication skills with one another or your attitudes towards each other, it’ll begin to point out flaws within yourself you never even knew you had. Aaron and I have been discovering the nitty-gritty parts of each other, and it’s had its challenges, like every relationship does. What’s important, though, is that we’ve been working towards embracing those challenges. Aaron likes to call them “growing pains.” We’ve experienced both the highs and lows and, as a team, we’re plugging our way through them. When one method doesn’t work, we try another, until we can hurdle ourselves over the obstacles that life throws at us.
I’ll be honest with you. Our renovation is much too much behind schedule. Our kitchen should have been installed by this point, yet the rough-ins haven’t even been put in yet. This isn’t uncommon in the renovation business, but it is quite frustrating. When the work isn’t being completed as quickly as I’d like it to, I’ve had no choice but to rely on God and His timing, hoping and praying that it will all work out to my benefit and His glory when all is said and done. And, if the delays weren’t bad enough, we’ve already been reported to the city about putting a balcony off of our back bedroom, and I don’t see it stopping there. It’s been one thing after another. It’s been hard not to want to be spiteful. You know, be a little bit noisier than we have to be. Be a little more cut-throat in our communications. But it’s not the right thing to do. And I’ve had no choice but to try to continue to be patient and act like the Christian I claim to be when things aren’t going my way (and let me tell you, it’s been a struggle and Aaron’s had to handle to remnants of aggravations that I can’t seem to contain!) Actually, let me rephrase that. I suppose I have had a choice. We all have a choice in our behaviour. Perhaps I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I wanted to use this house to glorify God from the beginning, I better not stop now.
A wise man once told me (aka my pops) “if you’ve learnt nothing else than how to do it, then you’ve done well.” Our first time around at this may not be perfect. It may not look perfect, or have been completed as effectively and efficiently as I’d imagined. But that’s okay. I’m learning new things every day, about myself, about my partner, and about something I’ve always been interested in but had limited knowledge about. Even when I’m discouraged in the moment, and vent to Aaron about how much I want to quit and how I’m never doing this again (I’m like a chippy Chihuahua – I make a lot of noise, but eventually will put my tail between my legs and settle down), the truth is, I won’t let it discourage me in the long-run. Now I know how much I can handle and how much adversity I can overcome. Now we know what to do, and what not to do. We’re learning how to do a lot of things, and hopefully next time is a bit more successful than the first. Processes take time, and practice makes perfect. Learn by trial and error, and take each mistake that you make and use it to your benefit, by seeing what works and what doesn’t, or maybe by never doing it again.
That wise man also told me something else. He said, “Serjenka, this is urgent, but it’s not important.” My life has been consumed by this project. I talk about it 24/7. I think about each and every detail all day long. I blog about it. I even dream about it. I’ve been having a real struggle balancing everything, especially the things that really matter. But it’s not important. Yes, it’s pressing. Yes, it needs to get done. But it’s not everything. It’s temporal and it won’t last.
My sister came up with a system for me to rate my life with. It consists of 4 categories:
- Important and Urgent
- Important, Not Urgent
- Urgent, Not Important
- Not Important Or Urgent
If you’re having struggles balancing your time, I highly suggest you take a half hour to really contemplate the items on your plate and to put them into these categories. I sadly found out that I believed (key word is believed) everything in my life was of dire importance in some shape or form. How do you learn to balance time when you think everything that you’re doing is needs to get done…RIGHT now? When I put it all on paper – my job, my relationships, my renovation, my day-to-day duties, to name a few – it was overwhelming just looking at it. But the world wouldn’t end if I actually didn’t clean that day. Or if I told a friend I actually didn’t have time to meet up for coffee. Or if my blog post was published on a Friday instead of a Tuesday. I’ve been adjusting to placing things in their appropriate spot, and it’s been difficult, let me tell you! Maybe you’ll need to do this checklist every day to keep yourself in check. Life will always be busy. Learning to deal with it and how to behave within it is where you’ll find the peace you’re actually looking for.
But hey, I’m the preacher preaching to the choir (is that the saying, I always wondered what it actually said). Who am I to say anything, but to share a bit of my own story with you.
Want to keep up to date on our renovation? Stay tuned!