As I grow older and older, new year no longer feels like a new start. Work continues, renovation continues, and life continues as it is. But I still like to set an intention for the upcoming year. In 2023, I hoped to evolve into a more active and fulfilling life; and I think we somewhat achieved it by becoming foster parents for shelter dogs. It was not the exact fun activity I planned at the beginning of the year – I was thinking more about hiking and snowboarding, ha! But seeing our foster pups finding their forever homes was immensely satisfying.
But looking back 2023, there were also things I should have done, or at least gotten started. Interestingly, the reason I didn’t try was not because of the fear of complete failure, but rather less superb results. This is easily seen from my work projects. Since having my own lab, I no longer have access to the top-notch technology and equipment I used to have during my postdoctoral training. I could have developed some cheaper and less impressive alternative strategies to achieve basically the same results, but I just stayed away from these experiments all together. Subconsciously, I might be thinking that if I could not done it in the best way possible, I should not even try it.
Because of the same attitude, I did not perform as many home projects either. Post-renovation fatigue was real and we took a good a couple months not doing any home renovations after our kitchen renovation. But during 2023, there were a few projects I really wanted to tackle, but we didn’t. One example is rebuilding our back fence.
When we moved in, we had wooden fence at the very back of our property and chain link fence on all other sides.
We did not replace the back fence at the time due to limited budget and time. But we knew that the time of this back fence was numbered. Although it looked OK from distance, it had many splits and broken boards. In 2021, some fence panels started to detach from the posts; we had to add supports from the back.
It was also built with different wood species. Some panels are made of cedar boards, which naturally turned grey. But some are made of redwood, which stayed yellowish red all year around. Finally, I could not take the patchy look anymore and painted the yellow panels grey/black to match the rest.
When 2023 started I wanted to have the back fence replaced so bad. But when the Fall came to the end, we realized that we have missed another year of opportunity. Slav did not have as much time in his hands, so we were afraid that we would not be able to do as good a job as we did for the side fence. Once again, we tolerated a really bad situation for the fear of not to have a perfect outcome. It is almost silly to let the concern of not being perfect to get in the way of the good.
Another example is the need of changing the color of the garage door. Since we installed the new roof, painting the garage door in the same color as the fascia and soffit has been on my to-do list. But at the same time, I was worried that painting such a large surface so dark would not work. In the past six years, I have changed my idea so many times on what color to paint – red, white, almond, even painting a mural on it. But every winter, we ended up with the same, boring brown. So one day I asked myself – if the color I picked does not work, what will be there to lose? We might have to live with a color we do not like for a few months, but we have been tolerating this color we hate for six years now.
It is interesting that when it comes to gardening, I had a lot more tolerance for imperfection. Maybe it is because I can always get it right the next year? But I could apply the same attitude to hardscaping project such as a fence, or my work projects. Not trying it obviously does not yield the results I am hoping for. So why let the perfect be the enemy of the good? For 2024, on both work and home project fronts of things, I would like it to be the year of
That means I need to identify the most important tasks I want to accomplish, for work and home. I will put the fear of imperfect outcome aside, and just do my best to achieve the best outcome possible. I might not be about to get an A+ I hoped for, but as least I will finish what needs to be done and likely learn from the experience. So here you have it, my 2024 intention! Watch me in 2024, everyone!