I’ve known for a while that my living and dining rooms as well as my home office need painting. The otherwise white walls and ceiling have gray streaks where the joists are and gray dots indicating screws or nails below the paint. There are smudges where the dogs have waited by the front door and scratches from moving furniture around.
Whenever I’ve considered painting, I’ve felt overwhelmed. What colors do I want? Where would I put all the stuff from that room? Can I live without that room and its contents for a few days?
Painting a room is a large undertaking.
Now that my partner and I are getting ready to sell the house, the painting has taken on a degree of urgency. A woman who stages homes recommended paint colors, eliminating that stressful decision. I’ve accepted that while furniture covered in plastic is inconvenient, it will be a temporary inconvenience.
After a day of rolling a creamy, warm, off-white paint onto the walls with tunes blaring, my partner commented, I wish we’d done this sooner. For us. I told her that I’d been thinking the same thing.
I got to wondering why it’s often easier to do things for others — in this case potential buyers — than for myself.
I know from conversations with friends, that I’m not the only one with this tendency. Somewhere we’ve received messages — directly or indirectly — that other people and their needs, wants, desires are more important than we are. Being a good person means putting others first.
I believe it’s important to care for others, to be of service. I also believe that it’s important to take care of myself. When I do, I have more energy and can give from a place of joy and generosity rather than a place of depletion or obligation. Everyone benefits.
There’s still more work to be done before we are ready to put the house on the market, so I have time to enjoy these freshly painted rooms. I feel the difference when I walk into a room. I think Wow, this looks so nice rather than I really need to paint in here. I smile and receive a burst of energy.
It’s so easy to procrastinate when it comes to everyday projects like painting rooms. But handling them is an opportunity to bring beauty into every day.
Painting these rooms has been a large undertaking. It’s been fun and it’s been messy. As I notice the difference in how I feel, I realize that even though the potential buyers provided the necessary motivation, painting these rooms actually has been a way to take care of myself.
The rooms required energy to paint and now these beautiful rooms are giving energy back and I am benefiting.
My invitation to you: Is there something you’ve been procrastinating on that, once finished, would give you more beauty and energy? I’d love to hear.