We had fifteen minutes before my client had to bolt out the door. Fifteen minutes on the dot, because the one thing parents won’t mess around with when it comes to promptness is school pick up.
Our session had been a successful re-edit of her daughter’s closet (it had been at least three years since we last worked together), but I had promised her that we could talk about her kitchen.
Normally, I wouldn’t divert to another project with fifteen minutes to go. I’d rather end a session early than leave my clients with a giant mess we don’t have time to tackle. But she was pretty intent on at least discussing it.
She pulled out some baskets from the island, and opened drawers and cupboards. “See, this is weird, and what should I do about these? And is this really the best way to store this?”
I walked around the kitchen. I opened everything. I pondered.
Twelve; I checked my watch. Seeing me, she checked hers.
Then I snapped to. It was all so obvious to me what needed to change in order to drastically make the space more functional for her and her family.
“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I think these are going to be a lot better here, and these really make way more sense over here, and this is what it is, embrace it! Do you have room for this stuff over there? K; let’s move it. And then that opens up this drawer, and this drawer, and that drawer. Which is the perfect spot for–”
Eleven, ten, nine, eight.
I moved like a maniac through her kitchen, reconfiguring and redistributing.
“I’M SORRY FOR BEING MANIC. I’M AWARE I’M BEING MANIC, I JUST DON’T WANT YOU TO BE LATE, DO YOU USE THESE OFTEN? HOW OFTEN? DITCH THAT. LOVEEE THAT IDEA.”
By seven minutes to departure, we had solved the crux of the issue. By six we had quadrupled her storage space. By five we had found a place for a whole collection of things that previously had been homeless.
“SEE HOW MUCH MORE SENSE THIS MAKES DOWN HERE? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS STUFF LIVING HERE INSTEAD? REALLY?? WHAT EVEN IS THAT??”
Four. The drawers were closed.
Three. The cupboards were done.
Two. The island was situated.
“OKAY THANK YOU SO MUCH SEE YOU NEXT WEEK BYEE.”
As I drove away, the mania shifted into a sense of satisfaction. I had delivered for her in a way I couldn’t have three years ago, because I am so much more skilled than I was three years ago.
Against a familiar, old backdrop, we notice our evolution.
It may be a place we revisit after a long time away, or a type of social dilemma we haven’t experienced in some time, or a personality type we once knew and now find ourselves involved with again. Nothing in life is truly the same, but there are reminders, windows into moments from the past, through which we recognize that we are not the same person we used to be.
Ironically unbeknownst to ourselves, we have been gradually growing and changing each and every day.
Though we are apt to look forward, to wish we were more–to strive–we are, at every moment, better, more skilled, more fulfilled versions of the people we used to be.
And that’s worth celebrating, if you ask me. This isn’t the first time I’ve urged us to acknowledge how far we’ve come, and doubtful it will be the last.
In a fast-paced, comparison-rife society such as ours, it’s important to cherish the feeling, no matter how fleeting, of being proud of our progress and satisfied with ourselves.