Another new house, another new batch of hopes and dreams
In the summer of 2014, my then-landlords (who happened to be my parents) decided they wanted to sell the house I’d been renting from them for a decade. Jim and I moved to a little ranch house later that summer and really loved it, but it always felt the teensiest bit cramped. I wrote a little about my wishes and expectations for the new place in this article. The last paragraph is especially interesting to me:
So it’s with a mixture of excitement and hesitation that I approach my upcoming move to a new neighborhood in Athens. Rather than trying to convince myself that I will form new, healthy habits regarding food and exercise, I’m thinking in different terms. My main health-related hope for the new place is that I will be able to create a room that’s just for me, a room where I can write this blog, work on Avid Bookshop duties, and just relax. A room with a door that closes. A room where I can get some much-needed alone time with no interruption so that when I return to the rest of the house, I can give my all to my partner and not be distracted by work. In recent years I’ve learned how important it is for me to have alone time—every personality test has me labeled as an extrovert, but I’ll tell you this: if I don’t get enough quiet time by myself, I get stressed and my rope is shorter than anyone wants it to be. And we all know that stress is not a migraineur’s best friend.
Guess how many of those expectations were fulfilled in that house? Not a one. But I am thinking that all just changed for the better. You see, we moved again last week, about a year after moving to that little ranch house I wrote about in 2014. We’re now on the same street, just a few blocks down. And the new place is not only our new home but also a repository for all my dreams and wishes and goals of who The New Janet Who Lives in This House will be. Turns out the ranch, as cute as it was, didn’t offer me the opportunity to have an office with a door that closed. And with Jim being a college student and, more recently, someone with a job that requires him to work from home a lot, that adorable house started to feel more and more crowded. I could have and should have established a better routine to let my partner know when I was and wasn’t available, when I was and wasn’t “at work,” but I didn’t take that opportunity.
I know my lifelong pattern of thinking that a new place, a new opportunity, a new door opening will allow me to be the Janet I want to be. I know that the novelty of a new house and a new office wears off, but for now I am just basking in it. I really feel like this new house will be better for us both.
First off, I have an office that’s large enough for me to have several bookshelves full of goodies. For the first time in years, I can unpack and display my myriad office supplies. I haven’t felt this hopefully creative since I was in high school and had this rad and odd-shaped room that allowed me plenty of room to fit all my belongings in an accessible and charming way.
Making my office a place I want to hang out in has turned out to be a necessity and not a luxury. I’m not nearly done decorating yet, but already the place brings me a lot of joy. And being in a room you love sure does make it easier to sit at the desk a little longer, to write a little longer, to put in just ten more minutes of work when you think you want to give up.
As I type, I’m looking at this lovely red bookshelf that’s now meticulously organized, full of Avid Bookshop files, empty and filled journals and planners, art supplies, and enough stationery to supply a small village for decades. On top of the low-slung bookshelf there’s a file organizer, a record player, a lamp, two typewriters, and a printer. And above the shelf I have a personal art collection that just warms my heart to look at.
Another key thing that convinced us to move was the fact that this house has not one but two bathrooms. I cannot underestimate the importance of this. In our occasionally frantic getting-ready-before-work times, Jim and I can have our own space without snapping at the other one to hurry up. Also: I have a clawfoot tub that’s nearly big enough to fit my tall self, and I’ve taken two magnesium-rich (epsom salt) baths in the last week and feel great.
I wonder where I’ll be in a month, emotionally-speaking and work-wise. I wonder if I will still be feeling as uplifted and productive. I hope so!
How has downsizing or up-sizing homes or offices affected your lives? And have those changes also impacted your health in any way?