Lessons Learned from Redecorating


If I had to describe the size of my apartment, I would have to say “just the right size”: as in, all my furniture fits neatly inside it, with very little wiggle room for alternative arrangements. When I recently decided to introduce a new item into the mix, I was therefore faced with a problem: there was no place for it. Something was going to have to move. And that something, I decided in my infinite wisdom, was a large dresser (4 feet tall, solid wood). It didn’t need to go far, just across a room and through a doorway. With my Magic Sliders in hand (they really are magic) and countless solo furniture moves under my belt, I was confident I could handle it.

Roughly half an hour later, I was trapped on the wrong side of the doorway with a large immobile block of wood stuck halfway through the door. Getting the dresser that far had proven much more difficult than I had anticipated: the dresser hadn’t wanted to tilt in the slightest, the Magic Sliders had not been up to their usual slidey-ness, the transitions from solid wood floor to carpet had been nearly insurmountable. I was prepared to concede that I needed help. Except, I was still stuck behind the damn dresser.

It was a combination of sheer stubborn determination and brute force that finally moved the dresser the rest of the way through the door. As I slid it the last few inches into place, it suddenly dawned on me, “I hope I like it here.”

I tell this story because as I was doing battle with my furniture and my muscles, I was reminded – for the umpteenth time in my life – that change is hard.

Whether you’re starting a new career, moving to a new city, starting (or ending) a relationship, traveling solo for the first time, or even traveling somewhere completely out of your comfort zone, change can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. You’re going to have moments when you second-guess your decision to embark on the endeavor at all (“things were fine the way they were”); moments when you no longer believe you’re capable of getting it done or carrying on (“this is impossible”); moments of panic when things seem to be going completely haywire (“aaahh-fingers-stuck-fingers-stuck-fingers-stuck”); moments when you realize you’ve been going about things all wrong (“oh, the drawers come OUT”). But if you can persevere – if you’re fiercely committed to the change and determined to see it through, no matter what – then you will also have glorious moments of triumph, when everything falls into place and you can finally enjoy the rewards of your efforts.

You may have growing pains after a change is complete, as you adjust to your new reality – the new city, the new job, the new spasms in your lower back – but, in the end, it will be worth it. The changes we initiate ourselves, drawing on our own internal resources and resolve, will always be a change for the better.

Just remember: Don’t doubt yourself, trust the process, ask for help, see it through, and always lift with your legs.


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