~The reward isnt as great without the struggle, so enjoy the ride and find the calm in the chaos. ~
I vividly remember the day Strobox team took off after the prefab part was done. "eerhhh, I guess this is me now? Wait, what? Help! Am I really doing this now?" I was paralyzed with the realization of the immense magnitude of what I'd taken on. Of everything that was ahead of me. Up to then, I had been so focused on the theoretical preparations, the prefab work and all the pooha around it, I hadn't imagined how overwhelming this moment would be. Initially walking around like a headless chicken, unsure what to do, where to begin, in a black box I had no idea how to turn into the beautiful home I had in mind. A healthy dose of amicable encouragement from Daan (Strobox) saying I didn't have to be so careful and just do it (thank you Daan!), I took a deep breath and got my act together. Just start somewhere!
Twas merely a big black box at that point..
And logical thinking and prioritising have really been key in project managing the build, and a simple whiteboard. Last winter, I carefully planned every step of the build (oh bless my poor inexperienced ignorant soul!). But in reality I practically don't use it! The order in which projects evolve is so different to what I had imagined; there are so many more projects under an overarching project; and things are ever changing depending on the weather, availability of materials, or support troops. So simply writing out my top priority projects on the white board along with the next achievable tasks, helps me get my mornings started. I am to complete the tasks as much as possible before I am allowed to add new projects. This has been great in ensuring I also do the generally very time consuming, less rewarding tasks (those I can't make fun timelapse videos of!).
Here's an example before and after picture of the whiteboard the other day. I mostly completed the previous projects and planned the next round. Before:
Using this simple tool to "project manage" in order to stop my head from racing at night (work in progress) isn't the only thing I'm learning along the way. Dealing with problems for example. To start with, I would feel defeated pretty quickly when something wouldn't go as I'd expected, and although it's never easy finding the balance between pursuing what you actually want and finding a workable, affordable solution, problems don't have to be a problem when you're able to adjust your expectations along the way. The train doesn't have to go in a straight line, or stop at the most scenic stations, as long as you get to your final destination. Patience, perseverance, and flexibility are key.
I've learnt that despite only having returned to the Netherlands two and a bit years ago, I am blessed to be surrounded by so many incredibly human beings, willing to lend a helping hand (and I am forever grateful to all who have been so incredibly kind!), and that without the support from my friends and family, none of this would be possible..
I've learnt that people are very good at throwing things away despite being nothing wrong with. It's been a pleasant susprise and almost becoming a sport, the search for free materials, even though it might not be exactly what I had in mind. So in many cases the material comes first, then the plan of execution.
I'm quite surprised I've learnt to be so comfortable in the mess and living with basic comfort; letting tools sit with respectice projects and not wasting time tidying up every day; sufficing with a good old fashioned washcloth for a shower; dragging a reel around between my computer, power tools, bed light, coffee machine, batteries for the drills, etc; going to an outdoor toilet; switching beds to the cold campervan when the house needs airing after cob plastering; hauling my laundry to neighbours' and parents' houses then hanging it to dry on the dusty scaffoldings; and so on.
I've learnt that almost every project seems a little scary to begin with, but gets ever more addictive while you start to get the hang.
I'm learning to be more forgiving and gentle to myself. And I'm learning to be proud of myself. I tend to push through, even though there are signs I should take a breather. "When you start to drop things, it's time for a break!" some wise friend told me. But the signs aren't always that clear. I tend to look at things that I didn't to, or that could have been better, instead of everything I did do. Looking at the above image again, of the big black box, made me a little emotional. Was that really just five months ago?
There learnings are plentifull along the way, so I'll leave you with these final words of wisdom: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi.