The architect was on the phone asking us to describe exactly how we envisioned this house. He would make the changes to the floor plan on his computer and within an instant a new plan was delivered by email. On and on it went.
We nit-picked over where this wall should end and the next one would begin. There were a dozen renditions of window placements, and a short debate over the very best kitchen arrangement. Eventually, we created the ideal floor plan for this lovely old home. The architect sent our ideal plan to the contractor, and then we waited as she determined the price.
The long, grueling task of scaling back began in earnest. Some things were easily eliminated while others were agonizing. It took several days to re-calibrate our brains around new priorities. We drove three hours to walk through the house ourselves and envision these “trade-offs”. A fall-back plan was agreed upon and the contractor sharpened her pencil and provided a new estimate. I cried. My husband fumed as the retirement calculator threatened to implode afterall. It was not a pretty sight.
The whole process reminds me of the many times we have all thrown ourselves into something – thrown ourselves right overboard into this something. I searched the web for reasons why we do this, and the answer was enlightening. For many of us, we fling ourselves into the uttermost reaches of this new thing in an effort to become this new entity now. Instant gratification. If we suddenly want to do something – lose weight, become a chef, or a scrapbooks diva – we want to be that now.
Runners are not exempt. We choose over-ambitious training programs, unrealistic race paces, lofty training goals. We throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the endeavor. It lasts for a few days, maybe a few weeks. Reality sets in. We back off, re-establish expectations, lose interest, and finally…we quit.
Slowly, or maybe suddenly, we become burned out on this thing. We’ve lost interest before we can even become this thing we envisioned. With the wisdom that can only come from experience, we justify why this thing was not “right” for us after all.
In the end, the best plan is the one that is realistic, achievable. All others are a waste of time and frustrating. In sports, the plan that is achievable today may be too easy next year because our bodies wisely grow and build on our accomplishments.
The same can be true with most other endeavors. If we tackle a diet slowly, at a reasonable pace, we are more likely to stick with it. Over time, we’ll achieve our goal and move on to an even greater challenge. A slow pace also allows our bodies and our minds to adjust to the new effort. For some, the over-indulgence is a form of obsessiveness. Half the battle may be understanding what causes us to make certain choices in the first place.
As for the lovely old home, we have settled on a plan that is a stretch, but doable (two verbs that work well together). We are excited…. and up to our eyeballs in construction.