How can one year feel sooo long?
Full time rebuilding a boat, that’s how.
It starts with unbelievable excitement.Even long hard days of cutting, finding more rot and cutting some more are filled with anticipation of what is yet to be. When the heat and humidity gets to the point where you’re stumbling and you’re close to exhaustion…the excitement remains.
Keep doing this for a year though, non-stop, and there are times when the days drag on. You turn up at the project and your mind is a fog of “what the hell do I do next?” You can’t see where this is going. You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Worst of all, you can’t see yourself sitting at the helm, looking back at all the hard yakka and feeling well pleased with your effort. You simply feel lost.
I found myself hitting that mark recently. It has a knock-on effect on the rest of the world as well. I don’t do repetition very well. Going and doing the same job every single day, and doing basically the same thing every single day, is very difficult for me. Thank you very much A.D.D. With multiple parts of the same project on the go all the time, I find days where my mind jumps from one part to another without actually physically doing much, so by the end of day it feels like stuff-all, meaning practically nothing, has been accomplished. Stuff does get done, sometimes a lot and sometimes absolutely nothing, often it’s just not what I expected to get done and that is very frustrating.
An example of this happened just the other day. I turn up at the boat with the plan of trimming and fitting the locating blocks for the crossbeams, trimming and fitting pieces to the companion ways leading into the cabins, and getting the frame work started for the furniture in the starboard cabin.
I get to the boat, ready and keen to get into the planned projects…and notice the forward hatches. One still needs to be painted and a bit of trim fitted, so I get the sander and the timber needed to make the trim. I start fiddling with the hatch and realize I was going to be working on the other stuff, so I stop. The intention was to focus on the work I had planned, but I can’t pull my mind from the other pieces that also need to be done.
I’ve had people tell me its easy, just do only what you planned. Unfortunately, my mind won’t let me do that. It just won’t stop thinking on all the little pieces that still need to be completed.
The next five feet of rock
I used to use an analogy for my boys when they felt their world become overwhelming. It involves rock climbing, ‘no matter how big the mountain, the only important thing is the next five feet of rock’. You know you have the skills to climb the whole thing, so don’t fret about the overall size and just focus on the next five of rock. Make the holds, trust your skills, and with time you will complete the journey.
It’s great advice. I love it because it makes sense and when you can employ that concept it really does work, but sometimes I have a hard time listening to my own words.
Each time this happens, time seems to drag on just a little bit more.
I look back fairly often at the amount of work accomplished and I’m amazed that I give myself such a hard time…I’m not being arrogant. I could have done more and I could have done less, it’s just that the reality does not match my imagination. When I’ve thought, “this is taking sooo long, and I’m not working hard enough,” I then look back and see an amazing transformation has taken place, and I realize that my day-to-day expectations were simply out of whack with what I had actually done.
I’m usually well pleased when this happens, sort of like an internal pat on the back, but the one ongoing element I find hard to dissolve is the constant self berating attitude of “you should be doing more!“
This, I believe, is the cause of one year feeling sooo damn long.
Hindsight allows me to see all that has been done. Logic tells me that I should learn from those thoughts and not be so harsh, yet the inbuilt voices still make it feel so damned hard and dragged out.
Some wonderful friends told me about their experiences building their trawler-based home and their advice when I spoke about these issues was elegant in it’s simplicity…”stop looking at the time, enjoy the build for the journey in itself”. It may not be verbatim but the sentiment is accurate.
So for this coming year my goal is to do just that, enjoy the journey of the build.
If the time becomes extended, it’s simply more time spent enjoying the achievement of a beautiful goal.
Yes, this last year has felt sooo long! This next period of time…see, not even giving a time frame…will be enjoyed for what it is: living with wonderful people, working on a dream and seeing what the future holds for what it is…A beautiful mystery!