Building life beyond builder-grade beige

a beach path onto Kamaole Beach in Kihei, Hawaii, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

When I ventured to Maui this last round, it was out of more need than desire. My goal was to recuperate from life for a spell, then to feel out ‘what’s next.’

The length of my stay helped to pave all the steps I knew I had to go through. It’s my hope that I will someday return to Maui as a happy-go-lucky simple vacationer like most other people appear to do, however that hasn’t been the case over the last couple of years. I’ve always used the time to work at breaking down broken walls, then rebuilding them back up again, stronger and better than before.

The duration of this stay proved to be perfect. The first while, I just rested. I’m talking, opening up the sofa bed and laying there looking outside of my lanai yard, watching and hearing the tropical breezes rustle the palm leaves, listening to the birds. I didn’t even see the beach for the first couple of days. There was no rush… my fatigued mind’s only work was to take in the pretty scenery.

I simply listened to what my soul needed, and just did that. In my opinion, there is no better way to heal.

This is also a large part of what sole travelling can provide.

Some of you have reached out to me ‘wishing’ you could also go on a sole vacation, but are perhaps a little afraid or can’t pull it off financially. I get that too. You’re talking to the #1 non-traveller for many years and biggest fraidy-cat here where I use to get lost on the way to the airport! I’ve had to work to overcome a LOT in order to change my life. I plan to share how I did it all to help encourage you along your way too.

So before I go off on a million different possible tangents, my main focus is a little different today.

a rustic garden shed in Canada, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

Shed post HERE

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel once my feet were replanted on Canadian soil.

Once I returned home and walked into my house, the best way I could describe the feeling was ‘builder-grade beige.’

I wasn’t happy to be back, nor sad. It was as if I walked into a swimming pool that measured the exact same temperature as the air. I felt… nothing. Completely neutral.

Of course, I was happy to see my cats, my son, have my own bed, my workshop, and office gear to putz around with again.

But the overall feeling was very strange. I just wasn’t sure if the cup was half full or half empty. It was just half.

During the past week, I’ve felt myself slipping down again on occasion. I knew I was treading backwards into some old habits and caught myself the next day. Didn’t I learn a darn tootin’ thing?!

Yes, I actually did.  Through a little quiet after thought, I caught where I went wrong, and now know I just need a little extra time to think before I respond. No one else is in control of my actions. That’s on me.

Isn’t it wonderful that life starts fresh every second of the day though? It really does. Learn from it, then try something new to see if it works better.

So as I meander through ‘what’s next’, I posted something on Insta Stories (click through to the right picture from HERE) that had me questioning my ‘builder-grade beige’ feeling.

What did I expect when I returned home, a big glitz and glam fiesta alongside a path well-paved so I knew exactly what to dive into next while feeling like a overnight sensation?!

The void of that non existent epic moment was a bit of a let down. I had hoped everything would just make sense right away.

But it wasn’t until a quote came back to me that I realized, I actually couldn’t ask for a better place to start. In fact, it’s a huge improvement on where I started… 

“Builder-grade beige is a fantastic blank canvas for something great!”

~ Lavender and Champagne (on Instagram)

Isn’t that the truth?

Builder-grade beige resembles walking into a newly renovated empty room with great bones. All your accessories surround the outside of that room. Now it’s all up to you what you add to that room to make it your own, full-filling your dreams and ambitions.

While builder-grade beige (just ‘being’) is not necessarily a bad thing, I also feel it could be an indication that your soul requires to be challenged in some new way.

YOU get to build the life you desire to have. So will you pick the same ‘ol things over and over again that you already have (on repeat), or will you also sprinkle in an exiting new slightly daring accessory that will infuse new life into your own?

This gave me a lot to mull over.

You may remember I felt the same way (actually, worse) when I aspired to quit my last job in order to blog full time in THIS post. 

Which also showcases two other important reads at the bottom on how I had the guts to leave my dayjob for my dreamjob.

Back to today… I know that pulling down feeling well. It means something needs tweaking in my own world. So rather than suffer endlessly for years like I did last round, I’m acting on it now.

Many have expressed that they appreciate how I’m sharing this part of my life, so here’s what I’m doing next, in hopes that it will help inspire those that need to hear it…

How I am enhancing my own

builder-grade beige room

  1. I read Boundaries. (Amazon affiliate link)

This tremendous book helped me discover where I was going wrong. It pulled me right back where I belonged and helped me own my actions moving forward. Game changer!

If you’re really stuck in a rut, a little help through therapy, a good book, a course and prayer can really help. The book reminded me that we aren’t meant to do all things alone, especially when we’re caught in a bad place.

rustic directional sign in Hana, Maui, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

2) I emptied my room and got to a good place.

Living in the moment (read post HERE) helps to get you in this place. 

To help my own story, I took a vacation. I tend to be an over-thinker so I find a brand new environment helps me live more in the moment more-so than fighting for new visions while staying home.

While living in the moment takes practice, it can indeed be done at home through walks, painting, etc. Just focus on what you are doing. Focus on movement and sounds and where you are, vs. thinking about where you are not.

Travel posts are HERE

a clipboard check list idea, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

3) I am defining new needs with a physical list.

I am a visual person so a visual list helps me stay on track when I lose track of time. My ‘ol memory bank doesn’t work quite like it use to!

HERE is the DIY day-planner I use to help with that and HERE is a clipboard checklist that makes daily tasks even easier to remember.

the building of a 2x4 and pipe shelf, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

4) I am working down the list in order to ‘fill the room’ with the desired stuff.

I am listing all the things I’d like to enhance in my life.

They include visiting new places, learning new techniques, creating new stencils, (scary) international travel, writing more frequently for the blog, learning a new craft (I hope to get into a pottery class this fall which will also knock ‘more socialization’ off the list) and more.

This will require some effort! But doesn’t all productivity?

2×4 Shelf tutorial: HERE

a little antique berry crate, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

Just like a special antique find, no two stories are alike. If you compare another’s finds (life) to your own, you are bound for disappointment.

You can’t find that same rare thing since it just doesn’t exist.

berry crate plant vignette, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

grain sack striped antique berry crate turned office organizer, part of Building life beyond builder-grade beige - an inspiring read on how to enhance your own life

Tutorials: Plant tote / Grain sack stripe tote

But you can use another’s find (life) as inspiration to stage your own room, adding your own unique twist.

So while I travel through the days ahead, when I find myself falling into dead space or in trouble or whatever yet again, I will be reminding myself to shove the bad out of my builder-grade beige room door, then add special unique touches only I can add to make it uniquely mine.

Now excuse me while I go to the stash to see what to add next…


How’s your own room coming along these days? Overdue for a new accessory or 3?


Read other Wordy Inspiration posts HERE

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Categories: Junk Drawer

11 thoughts on “Building life beyond builder-grade beige

  1. Thank you for sharing! I am just now “coming out the other side” also. It takes many reminders to myself daily and a lot of prayer to keep focused. I plan to use your checklists to help me keep on track.

    • You’re welcome Cheryl!

      The clipboard check list is so great for daily things for sure!

      That said, this is the only day planner idea that has EVER worked for me. Most were too artsy or hosted the wrong info for my life. I like the fact that you can make this one yours.

      Hope the ideas work for you!

  2. Donna,
    What a beautiful way to describe feelings ! I know that you will find your happiness, it’s there and always was, sometimes we have to lift off all of the heavy stuff to find the wonderful treasures underneath. Best wishes for you, thanks for your wonderful words,I look forward to your blog.

    • Thank-you Linda!

      And I think you are right. Happiness is already there through the simplest of things, however troubles can put a pretty heavy blanket over everything if we allow it.

      I love your analogy of hidden treasures underneath. I’ll remember that one!

  3. Hi Donna,

    Welcome home! I think I need to read the boundaries book. I could never do what you have done, going to Maui and spending time there alone. Scary to me. I have a beach house in Cali and when I am there, I feel so much better. I come alive, I think about all the things I should be doing, then get home and they never get done, Easier to sit in the chair. Thank you for your post, Donna.

    • My pleasure Nancy!

      And I do understand your travel reservations, big time!

      Maui is actually easy as you don’t need a visa, just a passport and a credit card. All the plugs are the same. The money makes sense. You drive on the right side of the road. You don’t need shots. It’s just a tropical USA with MANY Canadian visitors. LOL

      I suppose I compare Hawaii to international travel that requires all those hoops to jump. My own hold up is not knowing what to do or even where to start.

      I started going for years with others prior, so it simply became familiar, just as your beach cottage is to you now.

      I’ll definitely be writing a plan post one day on how I do it though so one has the ability to copy if desired. It would make a great start at the very least!

      p.s. I envy your beach house…. one day… one day…

  4. Beautiful post. You made me smile with the lists! I’ve been keeping lists for a long time and they seem to help keep me on track and I can re-prioritize as the need arises. You’re definitely a positive inspiration for me! 🙂

  5. Thank you for that Donna. I too am at a transitional point in my life and looking to make a lot of changes. I just got my driver’s license again after many years and am really to take control of my life and go where I have to, to get to that place that will give me some peace. Good luck on your journey and hooray for beige!

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