One thing about making a big change in your life is that there is still all this old stuff. While I’d like to spend most of my time on my terrific new forest garden project, things get in the way. There are house projects that I promised myself (and Mark, my spouse) to finish. There is winding down my previous consulting business. There are the usual household tasks, friends and kids to see, exercise to be had, and the violin to practice. When I was planning the coming months out, it all fell neatly into place: November and December for painting the house, January for planning the garden, February for ordering plants …. hm. In reality, things jumble up together; new tasks and plans come up; and everything takes longer than I thought it would.
I try not to get frustrated, to tell myself it is what it is, and to trust that a continuity of little steps will go somewhere. After detours, I do keep coming back to the projects that I have set out to do. It’s a bit like my hopscotch camino: there is something of a storyline, but it’s definitely not linear. I’m not like the happiness guru Gretchen Rubin, who can make a list of things to do and do them. In order! (I read her book The Happiness Project a few years ago and found it quite fun, if impossible to mimic).
Sometimes though, serendipity happens. On Sunday, Mark and his friend Chris were hosting a fancy dinner at our house for 11 Olin students as part of a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. They had paid a four-figure amount for this dinner so I felt some pressure to make things look clean and nice – oh dear, one of those unexpected tasks that takes the entire day! Our living and dining rooms turned into clean-up jumbles.
But, cleaning up led to identifying a number of things we could get rid, including a big TV screen that had been taking up the desk in the living room. Once the screen was gone, voilà, there was a clean and wonderful new space we could dedicate to my design and planning work! So, in the end, the unexpected task led to unexpected progress!