It’s worse than you think

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I was thinking about what to post about our house renovation project this week because it’s been a while and I know you are all on the edge of your seat waiting for an update.

Then, just today, I read this post from Oliver Burkeman titled It’s worse than you think and I thought, yup, that’s EXACTLY what it is!

You should read the whole thing, but here is the basic premise:

We think of certain kinds of challenges as really hard when they are, in fact, completely impossible.

A case in point: you feel overwhelmed by an extremely long to-do list. But it’s worse than you think!

…the incoming supply of possible tasks is effectively infinite (and, indeed, your efforts to get through them actually generate more things to do). Getting on top of it all seems like it would be really hard. But it isn’t. It’s impossible.

Wait? So what you are saying now is that getting the house done is effectively impossible?

Sort of. Well, not exactly.

What I’m saying is that having the house project go the way we think it would go is completely impossible. It was impossible to know all the things that could delay us. It was impossible to have known that our builder be such a dipshit. And so on…

The idea of everyone doing their job as we want them to and everything working out to our timeline was always a fool’s errand.

Anyway, you get the picture. And you probably get the point, too – which is that when you grasp the sense in which your situation is completely hopeless, instead of just very challenging, you can unclench. You get to exhale. […] And you come to appreciate how much of your distress arose not from the situation itself, but from your efforts to hold yourself back from it, to keep alive the hope that it might not be as it really was.

So we’re at the stage now where we are going to need to do a lot of the remaining work ourselves. Maybe all of it. Some of it might never get done.

Oh and lest you think I’m being dramatic here, nothing got done on the house last week. Not a single thing. The house just sat empty while the builder did god knows what and promised that “really, truly, I’ll be there tomorrow”.

171 days and counting. 😓

The thing is that this house renovation has been getting worse as time has gone on. Why would next week be different? Embracing that it is even worse than we think seems not crazy, but logical. Oddly, it even feels good? It’s fucked up of course, but now it feels like we can get on with it.

This perspective was so needed this week.

Comments welcome!

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