You know the old adage that bad things come in threes?
First, let me change “bad things” to “problems with your old house,” and then let me change “threes” to “fours.” Okay, let’s begin!
Our house was built in 1918. We took over its care and feeding in 1993. We were a young, hard-working couple who never imagined we could fill up the four bedrooms in this old St. Paul charmer.
Over the years, we’ve dealt with typical issues: replacing a furnace, swapping out a few major appliances and handling emergency plumbing issues as needed. We’ve also made home improvements slowly and steadily as time and money allowed, and we were even featured on a DIY Channel show called Kitchen Renovations*, an experience that netted us a brand new kitchen in 2003.
But this new year has been a veritable shit show of one home-related hit after another.
First, we had to buy a new stove. Next, we had to have our furnace repaired. After that, our basement flooded. And number four? Turns out we actually need a whole new furnace. And this sums up the past four weeks.
Breathe in… aaaaand release!
Honestly, it’s fine. The only time I cried was when my extremely generous parents said they would be sending me some money to help with the furnace, thereby eliminating the need to charge the entire thing on the good old credit card.
Life has a funny way of doing what it wants and it doesn’t really take into consideration your financial situation, your emotional issues, your insert-whatever-stressors-you-have-at-this-moment here. I posted a while back that I wanted to write more about the experience of being in this middle place and one of the things I’m particularly grateful for is the fact that starting therapy in 2011 is probably the only reason that shit like this doesn’t derail me anymore.
I was a pretty high strung human for most of my life. I was quick to anger, especially around those closest to me. I was extremely dramatic about everything. I basically lived with this idea of how things should go, and when they didn’t go according to that plan, you’d best run for the hills. I believed this was how I was wired.
Therapy showed me a lot of things that needed to change, the main one being that I wasn’t an adult.
Physically, of course I was. No denying that. But the way I reacted to my life? It was pretty much on the developmental level of a very young child.
Not in every area, mind you. I’ve mostly been a fully on-board adult in my professional life. I know what is needed and I do it. There is little gray area there.
But in my personal life, that has not always been the case.
Therapy also showed me my anger and my freak outs were actually a choice. No one was more surprised to learn this than me. And it was life changing.
For me, therapy has not historically been a fuzzy, feel-good experience in that whole I am enough mindset. The person was I was before was literally not enough. If you’re throwing fits and getting angry at people and are constantly frustrated with life, that’s actually the opposite of enough. Keep in mind, I did not have a difficult childhood. I was never a victim of horrible circumstances.** I was just your garden-variety neurotic person who handled my frustrations extremely poorly. For years.
Therapy today is more rewarding for me because I have learned a lot and actually work with my therapist, rather than against her. She tells me truths that have been hard to hear, but hearing them makes me a better and more capable person. She kicks my ass and it’s the thing I have most needed on my path to adulthood.
This is what the middle place in life is like for me now: I’m an adult who is still learning about life. I can’t think of any more of a fortunate place to exist than in this space.
So while I may refer to the home issues of late as a true shit show, that’s really only for my own amusement and comic effect.
It’s just life and here in this age of middle, I’m so very grateful to be able to roll with the punches.
*Our four episodes are no longer found online anymore. Too bad, they were highly entertaining because I was a horrible actor. Dan? He was a natural!
**I’m sharing some of my personal stuff again here in this space. I want to be clear that this is my experience and would never impugn those who have suffered in life and are victims of emotional or physical trauma. I’m just speaking from a personal place and if it helps one person see themselves and think they want to make a change, well then that is a bonus.