“Settle down.” I’m frequently told.

The more I seek calm in my life the more dissatisfied and restless I become. I dream of being elsewhere. Everything is mildly interesting but nothing is passionately interesting.

In the last five years especially, I’ve found it difficult to muster internal motivation for new projects. I’m clearly in a maintenance phase. House, garden, blogs, relationships, studying Japanese–my involvement with all of them is a matter of keeping them running and dealing with unexpected breakdowns. Nothing is new. They all require energy and time but none of them provide the thrill of discovery, the satisfaction of creation. My creative muscle is atrophying.

For a long time I’ve attributed my restlessness to being unsettled, unable to live in the moment. But now I understand it as a sign that I’m too settled. It’s time to shake things up. But how? My attempts to stir myself up and out of this rut have been feeble and ineffectual.

How do I move on? How can I move on without moving? As a BRAT I moved every couple of years and I loved it. I’ve always loved trying new things. My nomadic childhood satisfied my desire to begin anew. When I moved into this house 18 years ago, I decided that I would never move again. Even then I knew the danger of staying too long in one place. The accumulation of years is stifling. Magazines. Papers. Boxes. Books. Worn out electronics. Even though I do a big seasonal cleanings, I have finally become overwhelmed. Everything is so interconnected, that it’s difficult to move one thing without moving a dozen. And because our walls and ceilings are cracked and worn, there is little satisfaction despite much effort. Even when the house is clean it looks shabby.

I decided to take a big leap into a realm outside my control. Let someone else do it. We would hire someone to paint our house. If they could solve some of the big problems, I should be able to find the motivation to tackle the smaller ones. Painting the house would provide all the excitement of moving without the expense or effort of buying a new house.

Preparation for painting