This post is a bit of a combo post. First, I want to bring attention to the fact that I finished my first book in many, many years back in the fall. I honestly can’t remember when the last time was that I actually finished a book that I started. I was probably a little girl. It was probably Babysitters Club or Sweet Valley High. (Not kidding.) I’ve learned a lot about how I feel about reading lately, but we’ll talk more about that later. For now, let’s all celebrate the fact that I actually read a book from start to finish. Feel free to bring me celebratory cupcakes if you’d like.
Now, let’s talk about that book. I’ve been following along with The Nester’s blog lately, and I’ve seen her book mentioned here and there around the internet. Basically, this book is about designing a home that you love around things that you already have or can put together cheaply and easily. It’s not about going in debt to furnish a picture-perfect home and it’s not about following all of the rules.
Instead, The Nester’s motto is, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” Honestly, this motto is what drew me to her blog and the book to begin with. We all know that I struggle with perfection. It’s not uncommon for me to just not do something if I don’t feel like I have the time to do it perfectly. This is especially true for decorating our home. I have hundreds and thousands of ideas, but I delay implementing any of them for the fear of finding a better idea or not haven’t enough time to plan it out completely. It’s quite tragic.
When I stumbled upon Myquillyn’s blog, her message struck me. I shouldn’t be waiting on perfection. Instead, I should be creating a home that works for Matthew and I, and I can do so without a perfect plan. There are many beautiful things out there that aren’t perfect. As a matter of fact, I tend to find that the imperfections are what’s most beautiful. Why, then, do I put things off in a quest for perfection when I don’t even want a perfect home?
As I read more of Myquillyn’s posts, I knew that her message was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed someone to coax me into just doing things, both at home and in my life in general. I hesitated to buy the book because I knew I had a terrible track record of not finishing books. I also didn’t want to read a design book that “showed you how to properly mix patterns” or some other surface level design strategy. Finally, I broke down and purchased the book for my iPad and then struggled to put it down again.
After reading the first few pages, I knew that I needed to really hear Myquillyn’s message. I knew that this book was far less about how do decorate and far more about why. After all, I don’t feel like I need help with how to do it. Instead, I needed someone to steer me towards actually doing things instead of waiting for the stars to align in a scenario where I have plenty of time and money and inspiration. The Nesting Place helped to me see all of the scenarios in which I was accidentally waiting for perfection. I was waiting for the perfect moment or the perfect shower curtain, and in reality, I had practically everything that I needed to at least make things beautiful for the time being. If I found a better rug/chair/ottoman/wall hanging later, then that’s fine! I could simply change it later. If you find yourself struggling with decorating your home or if you want some creative ideas for creating something beautiful on the cheap, I highly recommend reading the book.
This brings me to the second part of this post. There’s a section in The Nesting Place dedicated solely to nail holes. I almost shiver as I write this, because the thought of putting an unnecessary nail hole in my freshly painted walls, sends chills down my spine. After all, I paid a pretty penny (I suppose “pretty pennies” are worth more than ugly ones.) to have all of the holes filled and every single surface of this home painted. However, Myquillyn says, “Is there anything less risky in life than creating a one-millimeter hole in a wall that can be filled with your finger and some putty in two seconds?” She goes on to say, “Nail holes are just a part of living in a house. I’d say that a nail hole is the lowest entry-level risk-taking action you could have in life, other than getting no whip on your coffee.”
As crazy as it sounds, this section of the book was a huge turning point for me. I was putting off hanging things on my walls (something that I’ve desperately wanted to do for months) for the fear of putting a nail hole in the wrong place. How silly! That very day, I went and put a hole in the dining room wall. I hung a wreath as part of my Halloween decor…it’s wasn’t even a permanent decor item! As silly as it sounds, this was a huge step for me. I made a decision to not let such a tiny, little obstacle hinder me from having a beautiful home right now.
Each day that passes leads me closer to the day that Matthew and I will move from this home. I made a commitment that I wouldn’t put off decorating this home as I had done with our rent house. However, we’ve now lived here for 5 months and most of the house isn’t decorated as I’d like. Some of this stems from needing lots of new furniture. Some of it is from a lack of time. However, most of my hesitation to decorating has been a fear of missing the mark. It’s from a fear of hanging something in the “wrong” place or purchasing the “wrong” rug. These fears kept me from finishing our last home, and if I’m not careful, I’ll see the same thing happen in this home.
After reading Myquillyn’s book, I realized that most of my hesitation surrounds nail holes. I also realized that nail holes are really such a small issue, both literally and figuratively. The reality is, there’s a large chance that I’ll actually like where I hang something. The other reality is, if I don’t like where it’s hanging, I haven’t made some huge, life-altering mistake. I can simply move it. I can just as simply fill in the nail hole. After finishing this book, I decided to no longer let waiting on perfection be an obstacle for me in creating a home that I love.
How many areas of our life do we approach in a similar manner? I think it’s safe to say that we often let fear of the unknown be an obstacle for us in creating a life that we love. Maybe we don’t go after that promotion for a fear of being told no. Maybe we don’t tell someone how we feel, because we’re scared of how they’ll react. Maybe we don’t put nail holes in freshly painted walls, because we’re afraid that it will be the “wrong” spot. Whatever it is, these little fears can quickly and sneakily be a total road block for us in creating the lives we want. Rather than holding on to fear and the struggle for perfection, let’s tackle life, one little nail hole at a time. Sometimes the risks we need to take are tiny. Sometimes they’re large. Either way, we’ll never know the outcome without first taking the risk.
What is one thing that you can do today to take a step towards the life that you want? Whatever it is, don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Just do it! For me, that means going to out another hole in the wall.