Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life's Choices: Repaint or Remodel

At some point in our lives, we must all face the decision to repaint or remodel.  My bathroom was right out of the 1970's...long laminate counter with a single sink at one end and a built in dressing table at the other. Women haven't sat down at a dressing table since the 1950's! What to do? It was the old "lipstick on a pig" dilemma. No, the best thing I could do to put this dated room out of its misery was to gut it and start fresh. But did I really want the expense and the inconvenience of a remodel? It was, after all, only a bathroom.

How many times in life are we faced with the decision to make the best of a bad situation or cut our losses and start over? Many years ago, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision to pull up our roots and leave behind family and friends to start over.  We had worked long and hard to get to a certain point in our lives, but we had reached a dead end.  We were stuck and no longer moving forward. If we stayed, the future looked bleak and disappointing. We were up against a wall. But we were reluctant to give up everything we had worked for to start over.  It was a step backward in order to move forward. We knew what lay ahead if we stayed put, but starting over was full of unknowns. What if it didn't work out?  Would we ever regain what we stood to lose? What if the future was no better than the present?

We took the leap. It was difficult. I had to give up my dream home and move into a much older, smaller home. I had to pull my children away from familiar surroundings to start school among strangers. I wish I could say that making the decision was the hardest part, but it wasn't.  Starting over was full of disappointments and self doubt when things didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped. No one rushed to offer us jobs or welcome us to our new surroundings.  We were alone and lost. Money was tight.  The little extras we had taken for granted were now luxuries. Everyone had to cut back. We began to look backward with regret.

But there was no turning back. Bridges had been burnt.  There was no other choice but to move forward. So we did. And at times it was like walking a tightrope without a safety net.  Several years have passed since we made that decision and life has evened out.  We have been able to move past our "stuck" position and squeeze more out of life than we ever thought possible. There were casualties along the way...things lost that can never be regained...friendships that cooled and waned.  But in the end, the pain and inconvenience of starting over was well worth it. 

I've watched others in my life face similar decisions and my heart goes out to them.  In the beginning, it's all so exciting and life is full of promise. But there is also pain.I want them to know that the pain will pass and that if they keep focused on the future, things will eventually turn out for the best. 

So what's my point?  Roll up your sleeves and remodel that outdated bathroom!