Coffee Break #44
Happy July, friends! After taking some R&R with friends and family, I’m jumping into July with our monthly behind-the-scenes chat. This time around, I’m feeling a bit emotional about an old “friend,” chatting about a decor direction that’s surprising even me, and rounding up of my favorite beach finds! Catch up with me!
The Why Bother Monster
Can you believe that this month marks one year of living in this home?!? I can’t! I very much feel like we are still the new kids on the block; and there are definitely closets I have yet to organize and projects not even started.
I’m going to do a full “One Year Here” Tour in a few weeks to show you all the progress we’ve made; but today, I wanted to chat about a familiar “foe” that has clawed it’s way back into my psyche: the Why Bother Monster.
As a military family who moves frequently, we experience a very common but unique reality: we live in a constant countdown. Whether a military assignment is for 6 months or 3 years, you know the minute you move into a new place that the move out date is already on the calendar. (Generally speaking, that is.)
It’s a very strange phenomena to constantly feel like you are racing a clock. That there’s an ever-present deadline. That the end of the current chapter is already rough-drafted out.
No doubt, this makes it a constant battle to remain enthusiastic, present, grounded, and committed to the home (and the life) you’re currently in. But inevitably, you do reach a point where a familiar mantra starts to cycle through your head: why bother.
Why bother making new friends. Why bother painting the bedroom. Why bother trying that new restaurant.
For me, it’s usually around the “one year out” mark that the monster shows up. All of a sudden, you switch from “we just got here” to “we’re moving soon.” And that reality profoundly affects what you do and the choices you make for your home, your work, your community. In all areas of life, it becomes so easy to say “Why bother, we’re moving soon anyway.”
In all the moves we’ve done, we’ve never done a two year assignment. We’ve done lots of one year and three year tours, but never two. And I am learning, this particular timeframe might just be the trickiest to mentally navigate.
When you’re assigned somewhere for just one year, you are acutely aware of how temporary it is. (Unless you’re crazy like me), it’s fairly common to not plant roots, hang things on the walls, heck…even unpack! The Why Bother Monster practically drives the moving truck.
Comparatively, three years feels SOOOO long. A three year assignment is when the Why Bother Monster leaves town for a while, and you get to hunker down, invest, settle, and maybe even relax.
A two year assignment is sneaky. At the beginning, it feels long and luxurious. So you settle. You paint, you invest, you plant roots. But in a blink, you’re half way through…one year out…and the Why Bother Monster is suddenly sitting every where you turn.
I can’t lie. 18 years and 9 moves into this life, the Why Bother Monster seems bigger, stronger, and more omnipresent than ever before. My mind constantly (and I mean, constantly!) oscillates between two extremes: “Okay, I’ve got one year left to finish everything I want to do to this house” (as I add supplies to my cart) and….”Why bother!” (as I start the pre-move purging).
As hard as it often feels (even right this very minute), I’ve always believed it’s worth while to battle the Why Bother Monster…no matter what, no matter when. Because it’s those very things…making new friends, creating real homes, investing in new communities…that make the military lifestyle so worth while. You miss out on the very best the military community has to offer if you let the Why Bother Monster in too soon…or in at all.
But it sure is hard to keep him at bay.
My best and biggest defense against the Why Bother Monster is this…you…here. Because by photographing and sharing the ideas here…each project, each update, each creation gets to live past our physical expiration date. Even though what I do over the next few months may no longer exist in real life a year from now, my projects will continue to inspire, motivate, comfort, and energize you…AND the future me too!
So this is just me…letting you know…that these days, I am constantly wrestling the Why Bother Monster back into the closet over, and over, and over. Because, friends, I’ve got a whole year’s worth of “bothering” still to do!
If you were to put a wide variety of home decor photos in front of me, each one displaying different color schemes, styles, and motifs, I’m fairly certain the photos I would most instantly be drawn to are ones with lots (and lots and lots) of white and all shades of blue. I recently had a question about what my “dream home” would look like. And while I’m not really sure exactly, I’m fairly certain it would be very white and very bright.
But if you’ve been following along in our current home updates, you’ll notice there’s another…not-at-all light-or-bright color I’ve been incorporating…a lot:
While I’ve certainly used black in our previous homes and we’ve long owned a few pieces of black furniture, I’ve been finding myself leaning on it so much more in this particular home. More than I would typically, even going as far as painting our pantry doors black, using black wallpaper on a ceiling, installing matte black light fixtures, and wallpapering the bathroom wall very dark grey (coming soon).
So if I’m naturally drawn to all things light and airy, what’s with all the black?
Well…it just works SO well in this house!
Way back when we first moved in, I did this exercise to figure out what color schemes worked best with honey oak, a color that we have everywhere. Cabinets, floors, everywhere. And once I saw how well black and white toned down all the orange wood and yellow-tinted walls, I kind of couldn’t stop. It just seemed like it was the exact thing that worked with this house.
While the result is a biiiit more edgy and modern than I would typically choose, I can’t help but feel like there is a lesson here: when massive renovations just aren’t possible, you have to work with the house you have. I know that might sound like a no brainer, but it’s been an interesting pivot for me, who usually believes that you can make any home look any way you want.
In our past homes, I tried my best to ignore a home’s more ugly and permanent features. Instead, I would do anything and everything I could to cover up the parts I didn’t like in order to make it look exactly as I wanted.
But this approach often resulted in spaces that were almost-imperceptibly uncomfortable, disjointed, somehow slightly amiss.
This time around, I took the opposite approach. By embracing the permanent elements that I can’t change and finding the one thing that makes them all work, I ended up with something that looks and (more importantly) feels a whole lot more harmonious.
In all honesty, no one is more surprised than me that I’ve so fully embraced black in this fairly traditional house. (I still can’t believe I painted the pantry doors black, but it’s the one thing every single guest compliments me on!) And yet, I can’t help but feel like it’s the one thing that’s helping me create some of my very favorite spaces ever!
Favorite Finds – Beach Edition
Our family just spent a week at the beach with some friends, soaking up LOTS of fun and sun. For the first time ever, we invested in some good beach equipment to make our daily treks out to the beach just a bit easier. Below is what we bought and actually, really LOVED!
- Beach Chairs – We finally invested in good beach chairs and were super happy with this purchase. The abundance of pouches and pockets meant we didn’t need a beach bag!
- Wekapo Beach Blanket – This blanket really is worth the hype (although I was originally very skeptical). We loved how big it is, how it really does stay clean, and how compact it rolls back up!
- 10×10 Canopy – We didn’t have one, but our friends did; and it fit perfectly over the beach blanket. We had quite the oasis setup for a large crowd, and we’re now looking to add a canopy to our own beach (and sport) collection because it worked so darn well!
- Backpack Cooler – Carrying drinks and snacks on the back is so much easier than carrying a bulky cooler – even the kids could help!
- Turkish Towels – We’ve had these for years and still love how compact they roll up and how quickly they dry!
- Handled Laundry Basket – On a whim, I grabbed this oversized laundry basket to hold all our beach toys, and it turned out to be a great solution. Not only was it big enough to carry the larger buckets and shovels, but it was easy to hose out at the end of each day!
You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love answering them! If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below. Then keep an eye out for answers in upcoming Coffee Breaks!
That’s it for me this month! Thanks for taking a break with me!