You cannot serve a quality meal without someone expending a fair amount of effort to prepare it. A good musician cannot perform a song without rehearsal. The preparation to do something useful is often more difficult than creating the final result.
This truism came to mind during the last stage of preparation to paint the bedroom walls of my house. Although my task wasn’t on the level of performing music for a concert, the necessity of careful preparation was important if I wanted a satisfactory end result.
I’m glad the truism about preparation in general came to mind. It boosted my motivation to apply masking tape around the borders of the walls that would be painted later that day. After all, I’d be looking at the bedroom walls every day; and a poor job would be very irritating to see.
I had already done the more difficult activities of moving belongings out of the room, mudding, spackling, sanding, and cleaning up after the messy work. Looking at the masking task as rehearsal made the job go faster. Afterwards, I stood back and admired my handiwork. Masking off the borders could be seen as the final rehearsal before the satisfying act of applying the paint.
A couple of days earlier, some patching, sanding, masking, and painting was done on the ceiling. That masking job was easier because the ceiling is basically a simple rectangle. The only masking necessary was for the border with the walls and the light fixture. The ceiling painting job exceeded my expectations.
I ate a quick lunch and rested for an hour. I made note of the fact that the dreary, grungy white walls have not been repainted for over 30 years. (The landlord would not grant permission to paint any room except for the bathroom.)
I poured the paint into the flat pan then placed the pan on top of the dresser that was protected by a plastic sheet. I took a breath, dipped the roller into the pan; rolled off the excess paint; then ceremoniously made the first path across the north wall. This was the point of no return. The next couple of hours was spent, savoring the joy of painting.
The next day, I applied the second coat. Painting over the base coat was even more fun, because I didn’t have to go through the tedium of applying masking tape. When the paint had dried and began to cure, the time had come to remove the masking tape. I was somewhat reluctant to get rid of the tape, because applying it was so time-consuming and fiddly. However, it did have to be removed. It was the final step in order reveal the product of my labors.
The bedroom painting job was the third room finished in the overall plan to repaint every room in the house. There are a few more rooms to go. My den is the worst one for wear. Preparing that room will be the most difficult. It will probably be the last room to redecorate.
I hope the reminder about mindful preparation is important for satisfactory work is helpful regardless of the tasks you have on your agenda.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, mathematician, and philosopher from Alexandria, Hypatia. “Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.”