Monday, December 10, 2012

Making your space into your place

At this point in my life, it feels like I have about ten different homes. My parents', my friends', mine, Joey's... It was especially overwhelming when I was still in school and found myself following my heart from Santa Barbara to Encinitas every single weekend! I would spend four or five days up at school in my little studio apartment, then pile clothes, books, computer, laundry, snacks into my trusty little volvo and head south for another 3 days (or 4 if I played hooky). And once I arrived it was kind of a toss up as to whether I would sleep at my parents or a friend's house. The nomadic life was fun sometimes, but this Taurus needed the feeling of home base. 

I found that a few things helped me survive this to-and-fro business. The first was stock piling my closet at home and my closet at school with two quasi-wardrobes. This sounds excessive, but basically I just took items I already had and dispersed them between the two closets so that I had the basics (warm, cold, hot weather clothes and shoes, underwear, workout clothes) in both places. I still brought home a ridiculous amount of clothes each weekend but only because they were my favorites or I wanted options. It removed a lot of the packing stress. 

The second is something that I have always done but it is a skill that I have really honed in on during my 20s so far. And that is making the spaces that you inhabit into places that feel comfortable, welcoming, and natural to you. For me, that means surrounding myself with my favorite things. I have a photo of my favorite hometown beach that moves with me wherever I go. My brother saved it for me when the first restaurant we ever worked at closed. The walls were covered in framed pictures (way before buca di beppo made the photo wall lame and commercialized). Just looking at it makes me feel happy and excited for summer, and it gives me a sense of home and comfort. 

Like that photo, I have accumulated a lot of little art and decorations that I feel really attached to and that have moved from room to room to apartment to house with me. It's become somewhat of a ritual to arrange them in each new room.  

Most of the time when I got back to my apartment after a weekend at home I was a little sad. I felt misplaced and unenthused about another week of class. I had to restock on groceries so I would pick up a little bouquet for myself while I was at the store. It felt like a mini-celebration and like I was actively doing something to help myself feel better.

 I also *tried* to keep plants alive in both locations. Honestly there were moments when I felt like if I didn't have my fern to water in Santa Barbara I wouldn't have gone back in time for class. Obviously not a smart approach to higher education, but if caring for something motivates you then capitalize on that inclination! I killed my fern...but this little guy is still thriving, thanks to a wise move from my room  where this picture was taken to Joey's room where he gets to soak up that gorgeous sunlight and now reaches all the way over and around the door.