Better Than It Was Before

I moved in to my house at the end of 2013 and, for much of last year, lived in it as the previous owner had left it.

Dirty marks highlighted where pictures previously hung, paint peeled off walls where it was poorly applied, electrical sockets clung on to their oversized holes.

A long break over Christmas provided an opportunity to finally redecorate. This only served to force closer inspection; paint splashes on woodwork, windows featuring layers of paint that ought to be stripped back, uneven joins between walls and ceilings. Redecorating fixed some of these issues but also introduced further blemishes – more areas to enrage an occupant too often concerned with perfection.

Throughout this entire exercise, I would think “well, at least it’s better than it was before”, a means of bargaining with myself in an attempt to finish the task before the holiday was over.

Returning home after my first day back at work, I entered my newly decorated flat and was overcome with joy, all those little blemishes had faded away. Each room was no longer a to-do list, my house was now a home.

This got me thinking of the parallels between redecorating a house and redesigning a website. Whenever a project fails to turn out as expected, commiserating with colleagues often leads to someone uttering the immortal words: “well, at least it’s better than it was before”.

Too often I think about how I can make the world a better place: socially equal, ecologically minded. This only serves to frustrate when I realise changing the world requires large amounts of money, time, resources and influence.

I can only achieve so much on my own, but I can inspire, influence and lead by example. Leaving things in a better condition than I found them, seems like a good place to start.

This entry originally appeared on The Pastry Box Project