The window in my office overlooks the yard in which is housed the noisy outer part of the air conditioner. There, two paces from the window is a pile of rubbish contained in a corner corralled by a stockade fence. This portion of the yard was a convenient place to house this discarded pile of goods. It was a short distance from where the drywall, wood and half a decade old nails met their end. Beneath my office window grows no flowers, shrubbery, nor anything of beauty. Yet the pile of rubbish in itself is beautiful. It is a dangerous pile of sharp edges and toxic if ingested ingredients.
Every morning I come to rest on the air-conditioned side of the waste that is visible from where I sit in order to better myself. My coffee is quickly cooling on a creatively designed overpriced coaster that was purchased from my son’s school fundraiser. To the right, a precious photo of my wedding day, husband, mother, son and $100 dollar dress I fit in only after three days of chicken broth. I come and sit here, computer in front, window beyond, to face the day ever present of the trash that lies not far from me.
One day that trash will be gone. Slowly and inexpensively we will place piece by piece into the dilapidated trash can that we take turns hauling to the curb. We will gingerly remove items from the pile checking their weight collectively to ensure that our trusty trash men will be able to lift them into the truck without a fuss. When the deed is done it is always a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that the workers were indeed feeling spry and generous and an empty upturned can now waits, for its return home on the side of the house. Little by little the rubbish disappears.
She worked so hard to make that pile, I think about myself in the third person. No, I didn’t actually lift it there, nor bag it. I was not the one to lay hands on the wood, rust, and damp outdated remains. Well, not all of it anyway. I wasn’t even the one to decide the rotting location on top of my pathetic flower bed two paces from my office window. But it was I that worked to finance the project. My partner had a hand in it as well. He may have even seen the whole thing come down. I was there in spirit and excitement. It was the effort of many that made the renovation all possible. So as the rubbish pile dwindles, I wonder if we will forget. I wonder if the pile disappears from where we can see it daily, will we take what it all meant for granted. Will the hard work to get us to the beautiful kitchen we now enjoy be for naught?
Without that pile can we, nay, can I be trusted to remember the blood, sweat, tears and anguish it took to achieve this goal, the goal of a new kitchen. One in which we paid for from working our asses off, from working my ass off into the night. Can I truly understand after the visual cue card fades, that I did that, it was me who made something happen? That my restorative nature took nothing and made it to something, bold, shiny and beautiful? Will I remember? Will I go around bragging about the material goods bought in a warehouse store and allude to the fact that this act of consumerism has made me happy? How can I perpetuate happiness if material things are not supposed to make us happy? And who’s to say that this memory will stay alive long after the bathroom renovation commences?
These questions must be answered. I have to know that long after the rubbish is gone I can look back on this season of my life and have a sense of satisfaction. I can’t let all that hard work and collaboration be forgotten. There is a way. I must set me intention. Because of my strong desire to be happy, I must make a lasting commitment. I will make a conscious decision to choose the happiness as days become weeks and weeks turn into months and the rubbish pile turns into small particles of unnoticeable litter.
To remember all of what happened will be impossible and to forget all that we went through would be sad. The whole renovation was a beautifully choreographed play that lasted 8 weeks of our lives. It is the first major renovation either of us had to endure and finance and a milestone in our marriage as well as our adult lives. It is the first time him and I (both having put ourselves through college) were able to live in a house where we decided the interior design elements and lighting. This major event was not just a renovation but a solidifier in our goals and values. This project that others may take for granted was a profound turning point into our adulthood. Because of these reasons and some I can no longer verbalize, I do not want to commit a hedonistic feeling to memory. Moreover, I want to create and internal feeling of happiness about the whole project and set my intention on that.
Happiness that comes from within will stay with you long after the momentary thrill is gone. That being stated, I prefer to focus on all the things I can glean from this experience that made me happy. So that, if one day the gorgeous gleaming bright white kitchen fades the happiness does not and my money will be an ironic investment into feelings of joy about the project not necessarily the product itself.
So I leave you today with this thought. If you control your thoughts around a certain thing can you actually appreciate it without idolizing it? Can you look upon it with gratitude and not a self-indulgent satisfaction? Do you know the difference? I do. Two paces from my office window is a pile of rubbish contained in a corner corralled by a stockade fence. This portion of the yard was a convenient place to house this discarded pile of goods. It was a short distance from where the drywall, wood and half a decade old nails met their end. The distance between gratitude, accomplished dreams and a nuisance of a mess is like the choreographed walk from old to new. The walk of calculated steps to embrace the happiness long after the reminder is gone.