When you walk into my apartment, you’ll see immediately three beautifully painted Athenian green walls. The fourth wall, one that also leads you down the hallway to the rest of the house, started off as your typical apartment-white. I started to paint it an off-white that I thought would match the green. When I realized it didn’t, I stopped painting. I never restarted the search for a secondary color. There is a distinct line between the two shades of white.
There is a particular shelf in my room that I put together and left on the floor for over a year before I finally got around to hanging it. It was another month before I put anything on the shelf. I haven’t even begun to pick a color for the walls, or hung curtain rods, or hung any decor. The walls are bare. My son’s room was painted when we first moved in, to avoid the baby sleeping with paint fumes.
I can’t even finish two loads of laundry in a single day because I leave it in the dryer for at least 24 hours before moving it to the couch–where it sits until I finally fold it a day or two later.
I feel that this theme of “unfinished business” is prevalent in my life. I start off with amazing amounts of energy to get things started, but seriously fail at the follow through. Just two weekends ago I went on a frenzy of rearranging the living room and clearing out some of the clutter. Some of those piles of things to go through are still piled up on my bedroom floor. I might get back to that project one of these days.
However, when I look at the big picture of my life, I realize that it is–indeed–unfinished. It will be unfinished until the day I die. There will always be more projects to do, places to see, people to meet, things to learn.
I have to accept that this is who I am. The important things get done.
I pack my son a healthy lunch every evening for the next day. We take regular showers, brush our teeth every day, see the doctor when necessary, and take our vitamins. Even on mornings when I accidentally sleep in and we have to get ready to go in a hurry, there is always an on-the-go breakfast for my son to eat in the car. We have time to play, to visit friends, and to curl up on the couch with a movie.
That wall might stay painted two shades of white until we finally move out. I might never have curtain rods in my bedroom, or lovely painted walls. I might never get to scrapbooking the first year of my son’s life–or the six more that have passed since then.
I can learn to be okay with that. I can look at my home and know that it’s okay to have unfinished projects lying about. When I get the urge, they’ll get done. Because for each unpainted wall, each unhung shelf, each curtainless window, I can tell myself that it’s a high probability that a memory with my son was probably made instead.
Maybe we read an extra chapter of Harry Potter before bed instead of vacuuming the living room floor. Maybe we spent the weekend being with our friends instead of looking through paint swatches.
Sometimes a project is stopped for mental health reasons. Maybe I had a particularly bad battle with depression and finishing anything didn’t have any appeal. Sometimes a project is stopped merely for lack of interest, or funds, or it wasn’t working quite right so I got frustrated.
But most of the time, a project was interrupted because a little boy asked his mom to help him build a TARDIS out of Legos.
How do unfinished projects around the house make you feel?
Photo courtesy of the author.