Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Ah...the mantra of every man, woman, and child of the Great Depression. Not as much of a mantra for the Gen X, Gen Y, or Millenials, although you do hear a similar sentiment in the "going green" movement. I grew up with a bit of this mentality, and it has definitely carried over into my adult life. Our cloth napkins are a perfect example. They've been a part of our family for longer than Finn; many of them are stained and worn, yet they remain in constant circulation. (Although we do keep a few nicer ones tucked away for guests and holidays.)
Last year, I wrote briefly about the little farmstead we put an offer on and how that fell apart. I didn't wallow much in this space, or even outside of this space, because I'm not much of a wallower. I think that my heart wallowed more than I was willing to admit though. I found myself looking at houses with land in our area for hours and hours through the months of April and May of last year. Finally I admitted to myself that this didn't seem to be the path we were supposed to follow right now because the right place had not manifested itself since the first little farmstead that captured our hearts.
And so, for months and months, little things started languishing in the house where we currently live. Nothing huge. I just could seem to think about updating the paint in the dining room here when we might be moving somewhere else. Wouldn't that be a waste of time and energy?
Somewhere around September of last fall, I finally had a stern conversation with myself. The kids were still asking occasionally if we were going to move. I only had vague answers for them. Other folks who knew about our plans would ask. I would feel somewhat rankled to have to keep answering those questions. A decision needed to be made. Not a decision on which house to buy. A decision to make do. We felt like this was the perfect place to raise our family back we had only 3 small children. Our family has grown, and those children are now teens. If it doesn't feel like a perfect fit right now, then what can we do to make it a better fit?
This new mentality was part of the driving force in the crazy decision to redo each of the kids' bedrooms for Christmas. (You can see the results here, here, and here.) And since Christmas, I've been slowing working my way through other spaces that have been less than perfect, making them fit our needs better. The laundry room and Paulie's closet have been reorganized, and we just bought the necessary parts to get our jetted tub back in working condition. In the next month we have projects slated to make new curtains and paint the dining room, to build a shelf to reorganize and create more storage for the canning jars, to clear some of the brush from our back fence that is shading the garden.
Through each of these projects and through the conversations as a family about our plans to stay here, I feel myself growing more content, more objective, more peaceful in our life here at this house. Maybe one day those plans will change, maybe they won't. But not one more minute will be wasted in expectation. Making do is much more soothing for the soul, and that's more important than the perfect farmstead anyway.