• asj

Doing hard things


I'm gonna be jacked, in traction, or both when this is done! 😂 This wooden backyard retaining wall was, at I believe 20 years old, at the end of its usefulness. It needed replacing, but the cost of labor would be so high, it was one of those projects where we were basically crossing our fingers and hoping for more time. Then the global pandemic hit (I regularly think "monkey's paw" to myself). Derek said, "Let's do it ourselves! It'll be fun!" Derek loves big, slow, very difficult projects. He's an experimental physicist; his last experiment took 12 years, and he was very proud to measure the gravitational dipole moment to a very very precise zero. I knew what I was getting into but today I really felt it. We watched a YouTube video, made a plan, pick-axed roots, chopped branches, dug a trench. Yesterday, it got extremely real. Over 400 52-lb bricks were delivered to our driveway. At first I could barely move one. But over the past 24 hours, I've moved about 30 on a dolly to the backyard. It's hard, meditative, and absolutely requires a positive mindset ("I can do this! I'm not going to drop it! My bones are intact!"). Also requires Pema Chodron's "wisdom of no escape" - there's no way to get around doing the hard work, so we do it. Derek was right. It's good to have a big, hard project.

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