I closed on a new house about a month ago and have been moving in ever since. A week of painting and hanging blinds has been followed by three weeks of unpacking, organizing and trying to remember where I left my tape measure. Today I hoped to spend my first, full day enjoying the new digs - after I hung a screen door. Easy enough, I thought, you put the top of the door in the track and align the wheels on the bottom and you’re done. Yeah…
As with too many DIY projects, the 5 minutes I expected to spend on the job became 45 minutes of searching for instructions in English and making height adjustments before I realized the door was too narrow. Tomorrow, I’ll return it for the one the giant lumberyard employee told me was too wide. Frustrating? Sure, for a moment I burned when I thought about how I had “wasted” my time, but will it matter in a week or a month?
The annoyance I experienced with the screen door project will be forgotten, but will I remember how pointless my reaction was? Probably not, but it did make me think of how we place unreasonable expectations on ourselves and lose the enjoyment of the present moment. Here are 4 stress-inducing demands I hope to remember to forget:
1. It should be perfect. This is a personal favorite. I expected the screen door to be the perfect size and to install in a flash. The reality is, the job still isn’t done and I wasted time and emotional energy being upset that my project did not go as expected. I could have had a peaceful morning. How do you do the same thing?
2. I need to know exactly what I’m doing. This is another bugaboo. Have you put off trying something new because you’re not sure what to do? Is there a person you’d like to approach about partnering in business with, but you don’t know how to do it? Would you like to write a screenplay or landscape your yard or get in shape, but you don’t begin because you don’t know how? You’re not alone, but the only what to find out how is to begin. Now.
3. I need to get it all done now. Slow and steady wins the race is a cliché, which seems outdated, but don’t be deceived. I just watched a documentary about the rock band, Rush, and their mainstream success story took over 10 years. Even something as simple as my cookbook, Clean and Simple, took almost 2 years to get to market. It will get done if you keep moving forward.
4. I will be happy when... As we age, there are fewer tomorrows upon which to place our hope and dreams. Time begins to feel more constrained and each day more important. What are you waiting for? Are you watching the clock every day until 5pm? Is this next lottery ticket going to be the one, which will free you to open your yoga studio? Will you finally talk to her tomorrow? I call B.S. on tomorrow and tell you the secret to happiness is living this moment to the fullest instead of hoping some distant time will be better.
Screen door update: Once I bought the right size, it did take 5 minutes to install J.