The Fresh Start

Wine Recommendation for This Post:
Sometimes, we need to start over. We reach the end, in triumph or defeat, and need to stop, reset, pick ourselves up, and get onto the next. These moments call for a versatile wine that works both as a celebratory toast and a conciliatory pairing for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s! Fitvine Prosecco fits that bill, and not just because it markets itself as a guilt free indulgence. In fact, that’s probably the least important feature of this pick, as, in reality, the “healthy” properties that the wine markets are pretty comparable to similar white wines. (You may save yourself 20 calories a glass with this one, and a negligible amount of sugar.)

Purported health benefits, this wine shines on it’s fresh taste and light mouth feel. Delightfully sparkling, a loaded palate features citrus, pear, floral, and apple notes that’s clean on the finish. The wine is slightly dry, but not biting, and is pleasant to sip on it’s own, or would work well in a spritzer or mimosa. Fitvine Prosecco was the last of the numerous bottles of bubble we popped upon finishing the house, launching us into our fresh start!

I started this blog over from scratch. Including its most read post.

The most read post on the previous iteration of my blog was titled “Astronaut Syndrome and Why We Do What We Do.” It’s been viewed by almost 1,700 people since it was first published, though I think I may have gotten a boost somewhere there from Google during the SpaceX launches as they correlate to my highest traffic days. 

It starts like this: 

“I was not a kid who wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up…but I’ll imagine for a moment that I was. Let’s say, as a kid, I wanted to go to the moon. Then as a high school college student, I poured over math and science all in an effort to get into a NASA program. And then I trained at NASA for years, and eventually I found myself on a moon mission. I went up into space. A dream come true. I landed on the moon. A dream come true. I did science, and planted a flag, and played in low gravity. And it was all a dream come true. Then I came back to Earth. And what would I dream about now that I’ve been to the moon? What in this world can ever compare again?”

When I shut down my blog for a redesign, and went back through the almost 200 posts that were already there, this astronaut syndrome post was the one post I wanted to save and recycle to the new site mostly because in the month following the completion of the house, I think both Josh and I suffered from a little astronaut syndrome. 

If you’ve found me for the first time, let me briefly explain. 

My husband and I recently completed building a house…building a house with our own, four, hands. This was my husband’s dream, a dream I reluctantly embraced, but one into which we threw our entire lives for sixteen months. And now it’s done. 

Make no mistake, it’s great that it’s done! In the final weeks, we really needed it to be done. There’s an old adage about if a husband and wife can build a house together their marriage can survive anything. LOTS of people told us this while we were building. That adage, we don’t think, was about husbands and wives physically building that house themselves, but we survived it regardless. It’s an amazing thing to look at the house we built and realize that every single thing, in our case, down to the nails holding it together, was a choice we made. It’s an even more amazing thing to look at all those choices and realize that we agreed on every choice we made! 

But now it’s done, and in the absence of the house project consuming our every waking thought, I admit, we’ve reached a little bit of astronaut syndrome. When we first moved in, I threw myself into unpacking with a frenzy, partly because I wanted it all done before I started school again, but also because, I think, I saw unpacking as still part of the “building” process. We wouldn’t really be done until we were moved in and done. And now, even that is finished! 

For Josh, it came in seeking new purposes for his days. Sure, there were still rental properties to take care of. Yes, there was remodeling work that people had asked about long ago and agreed to wait on until our house was finished. But which of those things could really compare to building your own house?

Now, we didn’t go to the moon. But it did feel like we came back down to Earth a little bit post house completion. And once the shock factor of actually being in the new house wore off, and we adjusted to the new space, we began falling into new patterns that felt relatively normal. But every now and then, even a month later, it’s hard not to look around and remember what it was like to build it, and how it was to be all consumed by it. 

But I’ve learned something about astronaut syndrome in this first month in the new house, something that ultimately led me to delete that original astronaut syndrome post after all as it was a bit incomplete. 

While nothing will ever compare to building the house, nothing will ever compare to being done with it either! 

I think this is part of the astronaut perspective that gets overlooked. If, as an astronaut, the act of going to the moon is where your story ends, then yes, nothing will ever compare. However, personally, if I were an astronaut, I’d want to be one that also came back from the moon. It certainly beats the alternative! 

The purpose to our days now that the house is finished is to build the life there that we imagined when we first started talking about what building this new house would do for us. Consequently, it was great fun to look back over 68 blog posts documenting our entire building progress, and they’ve all been archived for personal reference in the future, but the purpose of building the house was never really about building the house or documenting that progress. If it was, we would have sold it! Our banker actually encouraged us to sell it when the real estate appraisal came back! 

Fresh starts often feel like a really big deal because we tie our self worth and value to the things we’re doing, and when those things end, we’re left to reevaluate and reassign our worth and value to something else. Astronaut syndrome is borne out of the stress of believing that being the astronaut who came back from space is different from the astronaut who walked on the moon. 

When we turn the page to a fresh start, we often suddenly think by doing different things we’ll become different people. 

In reality, we often need to become different people in order to do and succeed at things we’ve never tried or succeeded doing!

I learned this in running. You don’t run a marathon to become a runner. You must first become a runner to run the marathon. 

When I was in grad school, Josh and I joked that we wouldn’t know how to be married once I finished my degree because it had consumed so much of our days. When getting close to finishing the house, we joked again that we wouldn’t know how to be married once we moved in because it was almost all we talked about and did for over a year. 

Turns out, in both cases, our marriage did just fine because the value and worth we put on each other and the relationship had far less to do than what we were doing, than who we were as people. 

But if we would have started with: let’s build a house because it probably will make our marriage better…we probably would have run into some issues!

Finishing the house has given us a fresh start on many levels…in how we spend our weekends, in how I start my mornings before work, in how we balance our finances, in what we imagine for the next sixteen months. Finishing the house made me think about what to do with my blog which had become almost exclusively about the process of building. It made Josh think about which parts of the process he actually enjoyed, and what work he’d be proud and willing to continue to do in other people’s homes. It’s given us new neighbors, in a new neighborhood, and new relationships to cultivate. 

What I really hope it has not done, is made us different people. What I really hope it does not do, is jade us into believing nothing we do will ever be as big and cool and awesome as building the house.  

We’re human beings, not human doings. 

And truthfully, being in the house, is way better than doing the building! 

Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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