This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Benjamin Moore is better than Valium

For many people these are symbols of hope, of everything being right in their life, of a better tomorrow:

And while I am a huge believer in several of these symbols myself, for me symbols of hope look like this:

And I don't think I am alone in thinking this way. I think the advent of HGTV and DIY and the boom in the home improvement market comes from people feeling hopeful. Feeling positive. Feeling empowered to make a change for the better in their own personal space. I am never more at peace than when I am tearing down wallpaper, sanding woodwork, filling holes, and rolling on paint. These actions, by their very nature, are hopeful: they show trust in my future, belief in my ability to renew, and a certain mastery over my surroundings. Does a suicidal person pick out a paint color, paint a room and freshen the window treatments? Probably not. Does a depressed person slipcover the couch, sew new pillow covers and light the candles on the mantel? What are some of the first things that tend to slip when a family is in crisis: beds not being made, dishes undone, papers stacking up, and laundry going stale.
I'm a huge believer in "acting as if" because I believe that our subconscious doesn't really know the difference between true hope and hopeful actions. I think we can fool ourselves into being happy, productive, positive, and hopeful simply by doing the things that a happy, productive, positive, and hopeful person does. Right now I'm not exactly sure where my future is going. I quit my job. I'm not in school. I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up and I'm not even sure that I'm supposed to be anything, at least until my daughter is a little older. At first I felt jittery. I should be doing something. I should be replacing my teaching job with something else. I had a lot of I shoulds.
Then I spotted it, the neon OPEN sign glowing even in the bright sun: Benjamin Moore paints sold here. Welcome, We're Open. So I painted the half bath. Then my daughter's room. Now I'm ready to start my daughter's bathroom. There are wallpaper borders to steam, a deep burgundy to primer, a lot of woodwork to freshen, and some fixtures to move. I'm still not sure about my future but I feel hopeful. I feel energized. I'm renewing my surroundings while my soul renews its career goals.
I may not be on-track for a CEO position, but my half bath sure looks good. And that's something.

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