How to fix what ain’t broke

We have a room in our basement, the office.

“It’s our sewing room,” my wife would interject.

But since my wife’s not here right now, is she? So for our purposes — and despite the fabric, patterns and thread covering the desk at the moment — it’s the office.

We have been talking about how to best use the space since we moved into this house a couple years ago. Yesterday we started renovating it in earnest. This involved pulling out some closet doors, tearing down a wall, and generally making a mess. But once we’re done, it’s going to be so much better.

The new year is a time we talk about change. This is when people start diets and exercise plans, and think about how this year will be different than the last. The real change process, though, doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s often messy. Sometimes if you want to make a change, you first have to make a mess before you make it better.

The mess part of the process is a bit painful.

Like our office.

When we were planning our office renovation, at first we hoped we could optimize the space without tearing out walls. Just a coat of paint and a couple desks almost would have done the trick. No pain, only gain. The room wasn’t really broken, but it wasn’t quite fitting us right either.

But here we are. The wall’s out, the holes in the drywall are gaping. We’ve made the mess.

If you want to change, you have to be OK with making a mess, and looking like a mess for a little while. If you’re a perfectionist, you might shy away from this process, because in the middle of the process, it just looks messy.

If you walked into our office right now, you might overlook the potential of the room, because all you see is the mess. And that would bug the perfectionist part of me. But it’s a necessary part of the process.

And it’s the mess itself that keeps us moving forward. If there were no holes in our drywall, we could abandon the project when something else comes up. But now there’s no ignoring that we have work to do.

If you’re contemplating change this year, whether it’s your lifestyle diet, faith, or fitness, don’t be afraid to make a mess. Sometimes it’s a mess before it gets better.