Feeling stuck is frustrating. You question yourself. You doubt. You don't know how to move forward. But we can hang on to little reminders to keep us moving.
There’s one particular moment in my life that inspires me to MOVE when I feel stuck. I call it my “kitchen moment."
That Paralyzing Moment
A few years ago, my wife and I decided to knock two walls out of our house to open up our living room and kitchen. The plan was to do as much as we could ourselves (I can be dangerous that way) over our summer break. We also had a one-year-old at the time. For the record, DIY construction + babies = bad idea.
Let me paint this picture for you:
Based upon the plans of our architect friend, I removed two walls. After consulting with an engineer, we installed two new headers, jacking our sagging roof back into place by a good three inches. I spent three days removing seven layers of flooring from the kitchen. You read that right. Seven. Painstaking. Layers.
I removed a section of the floor to re-level it and had hardwoods re-installed throughout the kitchen and living room.
It looked great. And it only took a few weeks (okay, months) longer than I thought.
One of the final steps was to install the cabinets and restore some semblance of order to our lives. (Our fridge was on the back porch and every meal was cooked on the grill. A woman will only eat so many brats. Not to mention the dust... The Dust! That shit settles everywhere).
All of the furniture was removed except for the kitchen table, which was covered in old paper coffee cups, half-eaten bagels, tools, and a variety of other debris. I had Ikea cabinets scattered in various pieces across the room (see picture above). When it came time to install them, I froze. I was paralyzed. I panicked.
I didn't know where to start. Do I hang the uppers or install the base cabinets first? Which corner to I begin in? How do I make sure everything is level? What if I measured wrong?
So did the only thing I could think of. I Googled it. I have no idea why I did this.
Snapping Out of It
When I say I was paralyzed, I mean, I was stuck to my chair, incapable of beginning.
My wife, in frustration (the baby was at my parent’s house at this point) left the room to take a nap.
When she came out of the bedroom two hours later, I was in the same position...sitting in a chair, my chin in my hands, staring at the kitchen. This is no joke, I hadn’t moved for two hours. I just stared.
My wife found me sitting there, laughed, and asked, “Have you been sitting there this whole time? This is exactly how I left you."
I looked at her, like she was a mirage, and said, “I don’t know how to do this. What have I done?"
At this point she calmly says, “Just start. Pick a place and start. You can fix it if it’s wrong. We made it this far."
And she was right.
So I picked a place and started. Once I got the first one up, the second one was easier. Then the third. And within a couple of days, we had a beautiful new kitchen.
The Moral of This Story...
Actually, I won’t insult you by telling you the moral of this story. You get it.
But this moment serves as an important metaphor in my life. We refer to it often around here to snap ourselves out of inaction. This "kitchen moment" reminds us to keep going.
Nothing is too big if we just have the courage to start. Any of the minor details can be figured out or fixed along the way. There's no way of figuring out what those things are if you just sit there and stare, paralyzed by fear.