{where dangers lie}

IMG_1700At any given point in the past year and a half, my husband and I could be found knee deep in projects. Painting (walls! baseboard! kitchen cabinets!). Ripping out (carpet! wall paper! {currently} bathroom tile!). Rearranging and hanging. Cleaning and organizing. Decluttering and downsizing.

We are project people.

We love learning new things; making a space our own; buying new tools to master. We love choosing design features that are beautiful and functional for our space. We love old and handmade over new and ‘perfectly’ processed. Usually we have the next project or two in mind before the one we’re working on is even finished.

Through the past year and a half of home ownership, however, my ‘take‘ on projects has changed. In a world full of niche design blogs and Joanna Gaines-esque folks, it’s far too easy to get caught up in perfection and the destination. The other night my sister-in-law texted me, frustrated with how easy it is to compare to other people whose projects seem to be effortless and perfect at the end. Whose ‘demo day’ truly only lasts one day and where money doesn’t dictate the final product.

In efforts to find meaning and adventure in daily living though, the idea of perfection seems to be a hang-up more than a realistic goal. It sits at your heels, waiting for you to take a step back so that it can push you right back in, taunting you with a simple phrase – “not good enough, keep working.”

The longer we own our home, the more our project motivation has slowed. It hasn’t stopped, far from it, but it is changing. Slow and patient over fast and furious. Imperfect and learning over perfect and comparing. It’s easy to think that the big things make the difference – knocking out a wall, replacing everything, retiling spaces…but the longer we live in our house, the more we realize that a well-placed home-made shelf, the painted and sealed grout in the bathroom tile, the changing of light bulbs…these are the little things that make our space ours. They make it functional and beautiful and particular to us for the time that we are in.

Which all leads me to the question, where do dangers lie, for each of us? In our thoughts, in our minds? Where do the temptations come and eat away at us, not only distracting us but blinding us to the small steps and the beauty of imperfection and particularity? The worst part of the habit of comparison is the monster of ‘never enough’ it creates. So here’s to unfinished projects, things that don’t turn out, experiments, and lessons learned the hard way. Here’s to the un-edited images and the pictures in process. Here’s to living in real life and letting the only competition be to be the best version of ourselves.

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