I drive the same route home from work everyday — no highways, down a long busy street, through a kind of expensive neighborhood, through a not very expensive neighborhood, and then through to our neighborhood which is a nice hybrid between the two. It’s a monotonous commute, but a short one (20 minutes tops — and that’s if I hit traffic) so I am grateful. I don’t pay attention too much to my surroundings, but when I’m just about home and I drive through that fancy schmancy neighborhood, there is one house that always sticks out. It’s a nice big colonial house, with sturdy dark colored shutters and a cleanly landscaped lawn. It’s a beautiful shade of gray with white trim and the most striking feature is the big red door.
You all, I LOVE this house.
And each day when I pass it, totally depending on the type of day that I have at work and depending on what mood I’m in, I have one of two thoughts:
1. I love this house — I’m so happy I live in such a beautiful area and get to see this house everyday.
2. I love this house — WHY CAN’T I HAVE A PRETTY GRAY HOUSE WITH PRETTY WHITE TRIM AND GORGEOUS A RED DOOR AND WHEN WILL I EVER GET A BREAK, AND WHY IS IT ALL SO HAAAAAAAAAAAARD??? WAH!
*I’ll let you decide which mood is which*
So recently I had a bit of a rough day, and I drove by the house as I always do, and sure enough said to myself pretty much everything in Option # 2 (plus a few melodramatic explatives, I’m sure) and then just a minute later I was pulling into my own driveway. I reached over and grabbed my purse, my lunch bag, my coat and got out of the car, and all of a sudden I looked up at my own house and really saw it — my pretty gray house with the pretty white trim (granted it only has a regular old brown door) — and I thought to myself, holy moses, I’m really only a coat of paint away. Sure it’s not a sprawling colonial with a freshly manicured yard (BAHAHAHAHAHA!) but it’s so close. And this one is mine. And this one is perfect, right now.
And I wondered how often do I do this?
How often do I make myself feel like something is so monumentally far away — so far out of my reach that it is impossible — when really the difference between the life that I have and the life that I want is as simple as a coat of paint? Because seriously, even on my worst day I could probably handle a coat of paint.
It was a strange moment of consciousness that afternoon, and one that I now think of almost daily on my drive home when I pass that house. Half of the battle of getting where you want to go, is being able to truly acknowledge where you are — and letting that to be okay.