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Entry #3 - The waiting room and the white picket fence

“I’d had a vision for my life, and it had been shattered… It seemed at the time, that my only purpose was to survive, and become a fully functioning human being again. I took the necessary steps, but I wasn’t inspired, I no longer had a vision of what my future could possibly look like. There was a twisted feeling in the pit of my stomach, that a happy, purposeful life was no longer possible for me.” - Belinda Alexandra, Emboldened

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a particularly patient person. I’m great at making things happen but I hate waiting around for things to happen, even if these things are outside my control, for example:

  • Waiting for a house to sell so that I can find and put an offer in on a new place

  • Waiting for settlement on the sold house so that I can pay the deposit on my new place

  • Waiting for approvals and forms to be processed

  • Gradually selling off furniture whilst waiting to move out

  • Waiting for settlement on my new place so that I can move in

There has been a lot of waiting, interspersed with packing and paperwork.

I’ve found this mental ‘waiting room’ really challenging.

I feel like I’m still living off adrenaline, waiting for the other shoe to fall, there is a constant churning in my stomach and a tightness in my chest.  

This high state of anxiety has become the norm for me as I’ve pushed myself a long way past what I thought I could cope with.

At first, I was worried about whether I would be able to go back to who I was before, now I’m thinking more about if I want that, and if not, what I want to change. After all, I’ve been given a rather rare opportunity to wipe large parts of the proverbial slate clean and start fresh.

It’s nothing revolutionary but spending time with close friends and family, as well as my cat, dog and horse has helped a lot.

Summer swims with my horse Shirley

I’ve been trying to make sure that I have at least one thing on each day where I have to leave the house (much of this period has occurred during our mandatory work shutdown so it was very easy and tempting to just stay home). I’ve also found that little things like reading, baths and a hot pot of tea (or all three at the same time) have been great.

More excitingly, I’ve also begun planning a few things for my new place – admittedly with mixed results.

One win was finding a local fencing contractor to help with the new section of horse fencing I need, he also said that he’d bring along a local weed management contractor to help with the blackberries too – so that’s a double win for country town connectedness!

Organising the fence for my dog’s yard proved to be a lot trickier.

Although technically the church isn’t heritage listed, it is on the town’s heritage walk so I want to do something period-appropriate but still sympathetic to modern designs, practical and safe. Enter the white picket fence (yes, I know it’s a cliché).

Excerpt from Heritage Fences – Tenterfield Shire Council

After a lot of research, I finally settled on a PVC picket fence – a bit expensive, but hard wearing and with a period appropriate but modern style – only to find that there was an 8-week wait time for orders (not feasible for me since I need a secure outdoor space for my dog within a week of moving in for when I travel into the city for work).

So, it was back to the drawing board.

My dog is a Staffador, so he needs 6ft fences, which apparently you can’t just purchase by the panel at Bunnings (they mostly sell 1.2m fence panels - not practical for Staffador containment at all).

Loui the Staffador - full time couch potato, part time escapee

I looked into building one myself (I decided I didn’t think I could trust the quality of the construction of this) as well as locally made metal welded alternatives. Eventually I settled on getting a custom but simplified white picket fence built by a contactor friend from Canberra, which I could then paint myself.

Why go into all this? Well, I promised updates on my struggles to setup the house and sanctuary (including fencing), but I also found these tasks, which should have been pretty simple, quite overwhelming. After so many major life changes the decision-fatigue was real.

I’m generally a highly organised and decisive person but all of a sudden there were so many choices and when I thought I had made my choice that ended up not working out either.

I got through it though, and as small of a win as it is, I’m happy with where I landed. I now have a plan for my new horse fence, weed management and a dog yard (all organised whilst simultaneously moving house and/or working full time) and I think that’s something to celebrate!

We all have a limited amount of time and headspace so moving forward my goal is to spend less time worrying about the things I can't change because what will happen will happen either way and I'd rather use that time and headspace on more positive/constructive things.

Hopefully in the next post I can show you some of these plans in action!

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