It took me thirteen months, and thousands of miles on the road, to bury the many obstacles that prevented me from evolving into the person I wanted to be. Once we finally parked our car in our new city San Diego, I felt recharged in my healthy mental and physical condition and ready to take on new career roles and achieve new goals. Little did I know that the tasks ahead of me would challenge me more than I was prepared to do. The rapid complete demolition of our new home has left me stunned and confused more than ever.
Everyone is asking me if I’m obsessed with San Diego. I honestly answer them that I am actually stingy. Gone are the days of beach weekends, extended hikes, morning routines that start with a workout, and a clean and focused day. For the past two months, I have slept four hours a night, waking up in the wee hours of the morning with my mind and heart. There are some things that I find deeply traumatizing about breaking down exposed walls for months. Can anyone already patch the walls? In my personal life, I have strategically built walls that often make me feel safe and secure. Being fully exposed was not the place where I found comfort. Like my open roof and walls, I’ve been feeling very raw and unprotected lately. I keep thinking about how I got to where I am.
The biggest challenge was not actually the construction itself. Instead, the most stressful aspect has been dealing with those I rely on to build my home. I was forced to bite my tongue, unable to say a word for fear of losing sleep and upsetting the balance which seems to be intact only when the contractors are not questioned or told what to do. Regardless of our GC resistance (actually, we have two GCs but this is a completely different blog post), I continue to be the self-appointed project manager of its construction Mine At home, knowing full well that it makes my team angry. I’m not trying to hate anyone, I want to play an active role in making rational decisions, minimizing mistakes (and the boy I’ve caught some serious mistakes), and moving the timeline to its goal completion date. Personally, I am surprised that my general contractors are surprised that I want a role in decision making and scheduling My house. Yet I have learned through this process that the ego is a much bigger disease than we thought.
Here’s a glimpse of how communication has changed since construction began and here are specific examples of how my questions have changed over the last few months:
Me (month one): When is the tile crew coming, to tile the bathroom?
Me (month two): I’m not saying this to challenge you, I know you’re in complete control of everything. I’m just wondering to my own knowledge, when is the tile crew coming, to tile the bathroom?
Where am I? Even if you? I am aware that I am solely responsible for the choices I have made but how did I get to the point where I found myself afraid to ask weak, dismissed and terrifying questions? For the most part, how did I consciously allow myself to throw away thirteen months of valuable personal healing in just two months?
One thing to deal with is the estimated delay in schedule and the excessive cost that comes with construction. This is what everyone expects. I guess what I didn’t expect was drama, tactical friendliness and egoism which is a common question I have every time. It’s been tiring. Drainage. Unhealthy, actually. My only hope is that others will reassure me: “It will be worth it in the end.”
Leisure kayak rides with new friends, coffee dates with seals, dates with my husband, even time with my kids are all stuck so I can give every ounce of my energy to miraculously make an eight month project happen in three months. My team constantly reminds me of time constraints, yet I repeatedly remind them that we will get it done if we are at work. They hate when I say. But it is true. I have always believed that if we say we will do it, we will do it. Although they would hate to admit it, they are doing great. I just have to handle the mood regularly.
So, where am I? I no longer wake up at 5:00 am to journal and meditate, or I don’t take surfing lessons as I expected when we got here. Instead, I wake up at 4:00 am to place orders, send status emails, write checks, reply to emails that require my input, and then spend the next eight hours of my day in house meetings with electricians, plumbers, contractors, etc. This is exactly where I am today. When we moved to San Diego it wasn’t where I expected to be, but I ended up there. My husband and I have always consciously avoided the “system” of home ownership that everyone seems to gravitate toward. Yet we are here. Please trust me about this, if the rent was as per our choice, we would have occupied it in a minute. Apparently, everyone wants to be in La Jolla these days and the real estate market for sale or rent is almost non-existent. Despite the headaches, I’m actually grateful that we found a home to stay in!
Last night, during one of my regular dates with insomnia, I decided to stop pussing around “my team” of people who feel bad about investing in me. My house I persuade myself to stop being self-consuming. People are tough. Their layers are thicker than the drywall, beams, and insulation that make up my ceiling. People are complex. Probably me too. All I want is to complete this house without any nervous breakdown, complete deterioration of the energy I have accumulated during our road trip or fear of health from all the stress I have endured. I just want to go inside. I aim for the day when people ask me if I love San Diego and I proudly answer “I am exactly where I want to be”.