Temporary Walls - First Steps towards Change
I recently had a friend ask, "You work out?"
She seemed a bit incredulous as she stood in our kitchen and gave me a once over with her eyes from head to toe. Apparently, my body image did not project the ideal of someone who works out. I had off-handedly mentioned that I needed to hit the gym before the end of the day, and she was, ostensibly, stunned at the very thought.
She, of course, looks as she did when she was a college cheerleader - and that was four kids ago. She is a dear friend of my wife and me, but perhaps needs a refresher on tact. I forgave her. Sort of.
Whether working out for weight loss or another goal, or implementing another kind of new discipline in one's life, change resists gravity every step of the way.
Temporary WallsSo, yes, in fact, I do workout, even if my physique screams "couch potato." My wife and I frequent a neighborhood sports club, and right now it's going through several phases of a remodel. There are temporary walls everywhere, which redirect traffic and close off workout areas while the new is being built.
It's a first-world annoyance, for sure, but somehow the club has figured out to complete the remodel with minimal impact on wannabe workout folks like me.
What strikes me, though, are the temporary walls.
The excitement is all about the new construction. The new capacity. The new equipment.
But to get to the new requires some construction that exists only to be torn down. The workers put up 2 x 4's and then cover the studded walls with sheet rock, as if the walls will be permanent. They aren't. They exist for a purpose. And for a few short weeks. Then they are deconstructed. Temporary walls are the transition from the old to the new.
Space in BetweenI'm thinking again of my friend, whom I mentioned in a previous post (Do Overs and the Courage for Hard Change). He's been on my mind a lot. His old career is gone. He keeps looking for jobs that don't exist. He gets the interview but not the call back. He's middle-aged. Way over-educated. He simply can't pick up where he left off. The market has no category for him any longer.
My friend needs to build some temporary walls.
After the Great Recession, I read stories about those who had lost everything and how they clawed back onto the economic ladder. One construction worker in Las Vegas lost everything at 50, moved in with his parents, and then went back to massage therapy school. And, according to the report, was doing better than before the crash. It's easy to overlook the three or four year transition and focus on the now "doing better than before."
Temporary walls are the transition work, the space from this pain-filled moment to the first paycheck at that next job, when the remodel is complete. It's the interregnum wall construction when confronted with a daunting rebuild. The temporary work is the bridge to the lasting change, the first build before the new.