What are you putting up with?
Last night I scrubbed my back patio.
I pulled out the hose, a scrub brush and bucket and scrubbed down the filth that accumulates when you live in NYC, the grimy dirt that catches in all the crevices of the brushed concrete. I worked after the kids went to bed, with the darkness creeping and the lights barely bright enough to see my work.
I have been frustrated with this patio since moving in our home five years ago. It’s one I know I am lucky to have in NYC, but don’t use it as much as I would like, partly because of this grime. We live on the first floor, and there’s drainage issues, which makes it so that when it rains, the water pools – along with the grime the rain should be washing away but just leaves behind, because the drain is clogged, is ineffective.
Last night, in the dark, I got down on my hands and knees and pulled that heavy, steel drain grate up and stared down it. Now open, the water flowed freely into it. I stood up, brushed the remaining dirt down into the open drain, squirted the patio down one last time, and woke this morning to a totally grime-free patio, for the first time in five years.
Just in time to move.
Because the REAL reason why I pushed through to the solution, why I got on my hands and knees and lifted that heavy drain cover was because we are readying our home for others. For possible buyers. For someone other than us.
And that is what made it worth it to get to the bottom of this problem, this THING that has been bothering me for FIVE YEARS!
And the solution, when you come down to it, was super easy.
In that moment I made a quick tally of the many, many, MANY things that we have finally fixed, replaced, gotten rid of, addressed in the past three months – things that we have been living with for years.
No door on our office (2 years) – Seriously, NO DOOR!
Damaged kitchen cabinet doors (3 years)
Burned out light bulbs in overheads (1-3 years depending)
A rug that I never really liked (5 years)
The sticker residue left on the fridge, windows, walls (GAH! Stickers! They should be banned.)
ALL THE STUFF that we really don’t use/need/want cluttering every surface, drawer and closet
And that’s the short list.
My home finally feels like I’ve always wanted it to feel. Just in time for others to enjoy it.
So…since my whole life feels like the most annoyingly perfect metaphor for all that happens in my coaching practice, I ask you this:
What are you tolerating?
What are you putting up with in your life that you would never encourage or allow someone else - someone you love, respect, consider worthy - to put up with?
Look around you – is it, like me, aspects of your home, your office, your physical environment? Is it something in a key relationship in your life? In your job or career? In your health?
It’s no surprise I was doing this scrubbing of my patio in the dark. When no one could really see, when I couldn’t either, really.
It’s uncomfortable acknowledging that you have been tolerating something for so very long.
And what’s even more uncomfortable for me was realizing how very long the list is. Not just in my house.
In my work. In relationships. In many aspects of my life.
There’s this saying: How a person does one thing is how they do everything.
(I can’t tell you how much I resisted this phrase when I first heard it. It made me deeply angry. I just COULD NOT with this idea. Like…FUCK whoever came up with that.)
So...let’s just say that it IS true.
Then it means my list may be way, way, WAY longer than I am letting on.
But…It also means that by getting down on my hands and knees and pushing all that dingy, grimy water off my patio and down that dark drain, I am all done with tolerating, and I am ready to enjoy.
I ate a yummy lunch on my sun-filled, grime-free patio today, the second day of 2017 that actually feels like spring in Brooklyn.
For you, my loves...
Make that list of all that you are tolerating.
Pick one thing. The EASIEST one, let's say.
What would it take to get it off your list? Do that.
Don't overthink it. Just lift the drain.