People have often asked me how I find the time to work on the house and then blog about it. I remember one time I was answering that question and explaining what motivates me to keep on going with the DIY house projects.
I told an acquaintance, "I'm kind of addicted to accomplishing something." After I said it, it made me think. It was really an accurate assessment. After several years of doing renovation projects, I find that I am often most satisfied when I see concrete results. Crazy as it may sound, I actually like weeding. I like the feeling of being physically whipped after a hard days labor. I like that I can relate (in a small way) to contractors. And I love the way oak boards look without paint on them.
I used to go to a health club and work out. I used to get manicures. I used to highlight my hair. The results? A slimmer, fitter me with nice nails and hair. Nowadays I much prefer getting my workouts in the backyard heaving bags of mulch around or digging a new flower bed. Stripping layers of paint off wood suits me more than running on a treadmill to nowhere. And manicures? Well, they would just get in the way.
I know that one of the things that keeps me working on our 2-flat is the satisfaction I get from completing projects, from making our little dreams a reality with my very own sweat and muscle and determination.
Every once in a while, I do question how I spend my time. I could be more of a social butterfly after all. Or I could go to the movies more. I can't do the bar scene because I am not a drinker and it bores me when sober. I could do (more) volunteer work, but then I already do that. Maybe I could just try and make my world bigger. The house and all its needs can, after all, be a vacuum.
But then it's also a respite. And I am a quiet person that likes peaceful moments in my yard with Steve and dogs at my side. This is just the person I am. And something about working on our house makes me feel very grounded and very connected. When you spend a few summers stripping layers of paint off 100 year old oak boards, you really feel like the house is yours. It's almost a part of you.
Restoring an old house to me is many things. It's an act of love for one. It's romantic and awful and exhausting and exhilarating. It's also an act of faith that when you die, someone won't come along and tear it down! But even if that happens, it will still have been worth it.