Robin Hood and I threw ourselves a housewarming party last weekend. Despite the stress of the preparations beforehand, the party was, in our opinion anyway, a success. About a dozen of our friends stopped by, refreshments were enjoyed, and our new-to-us patio furniture made a delightful debut. At some point during the evening, I was sitting in a chair on our freshly-vacuumed turf [judge all you want — in Albuquerque, grass is a luxury, and I’d rather have turf than bare dirt], sipping a glass of wine and listening to the conversations around me. And I found myself — gasp — relaxing.
I have not done much relaxing at home lately. Robin Hood can testify to this, bless his heart. I dove into living in this house the way a person starts training for their first/next marathon: with vigor, and focus. I even had a “race date,” i.e. the date of our housewarming party. I will say that having that date looming provided terrific incentive to get everything presentable, but…Whew.
I was READY for Phase 2.
I’ll back up a little.
Phase 1 of any major task, e.g. moving into and getting settled in a new house; training for a race; seeking a new job; etc. is quite simply working your butt off. There are no frills to be put on it, and there are no shortcuts. The realization of this usually comes after the initial heady rush of deciding to take on the major task. You’ve signed a lease, or a registration form, or just given your two weeks’ notice. You’ve gushed to your friends and posted lots of exclamation points on social media. Then reality sinks in, and the work begins.
But it’s a good thing! Phase 1 teaches us a lot about ourselves. It tugs us out of our comfort zones. It gives us confidence. We draw on stamina we never knew we had. We develop skills we never dreamed of needing. We acquire a new appreciation for the patience of our loved ones. We get a little better at taking things in stride.
That said, thank God when Phase 2 arrives.
Phase 2 is the payoff. The reaping, in the best possible way. The move-in is complete; the training is done; the fabulous new job is yours. You actually get to breathe, relax, and enjoy the fruits of that hard work.
While it’s wonderful to rest on your laurels and enjoy the payoff for a moment, there’s another step to Phase 2 that can’t be forgotten: the payback.
Now that you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do, what to do? At a new job, we’re expected to immediately start sharing our talents and skills with the workforce. When we do this, the workforce becomes better. After we’ve run a race, we encourage others to do the same, and the running community grows. After we’ve moved into a new house, what then? We invite people over, whether for a couple of hours or for a week. We share our homes, and our relationships grow stronger.
Talk about hard work paying off.
If you’re in the midst of Phase 1 of a major task, rest assured that there is a Phase 2. Maybe it’s not in the form of a glass of wine on astroturf, but there is a payoff, and it’s closer than you think.