80% great

I was talking with my friend and neighbor, Hitomi, at 555. I’d given her and Kengo a tour of the house thus far and we were talking about how amazing it is.

I also mentioned how I sometimes feel fraught with anxiety over decisions.

555 should outlast me and I don’t plan to move (though never say never). What happens if I choose something and it just isn’t right? The coming weeks are my last chance to change where the outlets go or and I will finalise the kitchen equipment by placing an order. It was hard when I made decisions about the windows, bathroom, and storage spaces. If I make a bad choice, will I ruin the house? I can get pretty knotted up in these concerns.

A mistake will be…actually, not that bad.

Because when I feel overwhelmed by choices and trying to weigh benefits against budget, I step back and remind myself that I have lived in rented places for almost all of my adult life. Homes designed by other people. Rooms with quirks and strange choices, poor window placement, inscrutable closets, mystery switches.

And we’ve lived happily in all of them. We accept whatever is and adjust.

The 80/20 Rule must apply to this project. 80% of the outcomes will come from 20% of the choices. That means 80% of my choices are not very consequential. If I make a mistake, I can accept and adjust.

Therefore, if I get the key 20% of the decisions at 555 right or even close (and I have certainly made good calls on the biggest choices already – architect and builder, location, and materials), it is going to be the most remarkable of homes. I will take care with the rest of my choices, but I don’t have to be anxious about them. Whatever we build will be nicely fit for me and Tod.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.