“Tackle a Nagging Task” - This is one of Gretchen Rubin’s resolutions from The Happiness Project. I know from experience that it’s gratifying to finally take on the thing I’ve been avoiding, because usually that thing I’ve been avoiding is preventing me from doing all the other things I need to do. That nagging task creates a blockage.
We have a bodega (lockable storage room) that sorely needs to be organized. It’s a room that currently acts as our closet, my office, and the storage space for all of our stuff. Lucas designed the house with the idea that the main living space could remain clutter free because most of our stuff is put away neatly in the bodega. We moved into our house in April, and we have yet to take all of the stuff that was in our old bodega (and now resides in the bodega of my parents-in-law) and put it away in our new bodega. It’s a daunting task that I’ve been avoiding, and fills me with dread. So I asked my friend, Greta, mother of six, who has moved many times since she’s lived in Mexico and is generally a neat and organized person to help me. Mostly I needed her for moral support, and to help me focus. I knew even with her support, that I would still have to make all the decisions. We worked for six hours and in that time we were able to throw away two garbage bags (It was surprisingly fun to throw stuff away), give away several boxes, and drive two carfulls of stuff to our house. We brought over a shelving unit, which Lucas set up, and then in five minutes we filled it with about 1/57th of our stuff. It was great to make a dent, but it was only a dent. Poco a poco. Just a little movement creates the momentum to keep going.
I am particularly focused on order right now is because we are still very much in the process of setting up and building our home. We moved into our half-finished house only a few months ago. The house contains many contradictions: it’s at once stylishly urban, with clean lines and high ceilings. And at the same time it’s made of natural and/or recycled materials and has a home-made look to it. It’s brand new, but it’s already cracking and falling apart. The main space looks clean, and finished, but there are parts of the house that are still raw an unfinished. This house represents an enormous and long-awaited accomplishment. The end of a particular chapter of our life, and also not yet materialized dreams and plans. There is the half finished bedroom building. The unbuilt but often envisioned studio/guest house. The toilet room with a curtain, but no door, and a bucket for use as a composting toilet. The kitchen counter is still rough cement, it has yet to be tiled. The bathroom walls are unpainted gray cement and the shower is untiled. Some of the outside walls of the house need to be stuccoed. The bodega is still in a state of transformation. Living in this state of half-doneness is both interesting and challenging. The desire to create order and tackle house projects constantly haunts me, and gets overwhelming at times. There is just so much to do! And yet, I need to remember that it will happen poco a poco, and that I have to be realistic about what is achievable in this heat and humidity. And even with all that there is that is unfinished, there is so much more to be grateful for and to appreciate. We are finally living in the house we dreamed of making for so many years. And the house, even in its flawed and unfinished state, is beautiful.