As I sit here in my black, tattered computer chair at my chestnut desk, I can’t help but think about the impact of my living space on my psyche. While my current arrangement, me sitting in a chair at a desk, doesn’t sound strange, if you saw me you would certainly think that it looks strange.
I’m couched in a nook about five feet long with a depth of about two and a half feet. On each end, there’s a tall bookshelf. And between the walls, there’s a double window. Two windows split by a small seam of wall. My desk normally sits just beneath the window facing out and my chair in front of it. But today my desk and chair are perpendicular to the wall, facing the bookshelf.
It makes no logical sense. Any interior designer or home decorator would scoff at such an arrangement. It’s certainly not a long-term solution. But it’s a necessary one.
Ever since I moved in with my family life hasn’t quite been the same. I’ve felt like something was missing. As I’ve tried to figure it out over the months, I’ve often described it as my “rhythm.”
I thought that if I could just get into a good flow then I’d get it back. But despite getting up and around, settling in, and finding some semblance of a rhythm, I still feel off. Is it the pandemic? Is it the living situation? Is it something else?
On Monday morning, I stared out my window from my bed with my journal in hand. “What if today is the day? What if today I could figure it out?” I thought. I felt determined. I knew that I couldn’t live here nine more months without doing something to get my groove back.
Something needed to be done. Everything I’d tried up until this point hadn’t worked. I needed to try something else.
I looked around my room. I began to ask myself what was it about my space that lent itself to poor flow and lack of inspiration? It’s a beautiful space. My plants are flowing from every corner; wherever there’s an empty surface there’s a plant. My furniture fits perfectly into each snug corner. I’ve got a defined living area, sleep area, work area, and even a coffee/tea station. All of this within approximately 250 square feet.
Even with all of this, I remain “off.” The best thing I’ve been able to attribute it to is my lack of perspective. While the window I do have is large, it’s still only “one” window on one wall, tucked back and away. And my living area is down and away from the window in the darkest corner of the room.
This isn’t a problem in the evening or when I want to have a lazy day on the couch. But when it’s the only spot I regularly sit day in and day out I want to feel inspired by my space, not encouraged to be lazy. Or better yet, I need my regular sit spot to be more versatile. Currently, it lacks a “view” which I’ve determined has a pronounced psychological impact on me.
The only spot with a view is at my desk. But I rarely sit there because it’s not comfortable. Sitting at the desk implies doing some kind of work. I’m not always wanting to be in an upright, erect, “working” kind of mode. Therefore, this spot is also not versatile enough.
Most of the time I want to relax and rest in an inspired kind of way. I want to sit and stare off into space (preferably out a window with a good view) and contemplate or read. Right now I’m only able to do this in a dark corner. Not very inspiring. And this is the problem. This is why I think my mojo goes has been all “wah wah.”
I get into that corner, tucked away from the window so that the only view I have is of a piece of blue sky and roof. I sit there with no connection to the outside world, no perspective on the horizon or nature, no looking glass. The only view I have is of the TV and the walls of this room. Not a very inspiring position to be in for someone like myself. Allow me to explain.
I’m a thinker. I’m a contemplator. I’m the type of person that if given a stretch of free time I’ll stare off into space and think about life. It looks like I’m not doing anything. In fact, you may believe I’m bored, in need of entertaining, and decide to come to my rescue. But, fear not, I’m not bored.
I love to sit and think. I love to journal for hours about the endless streams of thoughts I explore as I stare off into space. It’s my favorite pastime. And I’ve been unable to do it with consistency since moving into this space. I’ve been unable to reliably sit and think because there’s a key element missing from the equation – a comfortable spot with a good view.
I’ve spent the last several months with the same view from that dark corner. While I’ve managed, I still haven’t gotten things back on track. And I’m determined to do just that.
Here’s what I did first: I employed the use of mirrors. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner! I moved my long, dressing mirror from the back of my closet door, turned it sideways, and hung it above my couch. It now hangs on a long stretch of wall that was previously bare.
It reflects the window. I can now sit on the couch and stare into the mirror. It gives a new view. It also adds much needed natural light to the area. On top of that, I found a smaller mirror and hung it on an adjacent wall where I have multiple pictures hung in a gallery style. These two mirrors completely change the space. They add depth and dimension where before there was none.
And then, my biggest feat yet: rearranging the furniture in front of the window. This window nook is precious real estate. It hosts one of the best locations in the room for window gazing. The window offers an expansive view of the farmer’s field and distant neighborhoods. I can watch the sunrise, the cows mosey around, and the farmer hauling junk from one end of the field to the other.
It’s in this nook where you find me this morning with my black computer chair and chestnut desk angled perpendicular to the wall with the window. I’ve got a good view – finally. But this is no true interior solution. It was just a test. A successful one at that.
I have no real need for a computer chair and a desk. It was just nice that it fits so well into this space. Overall, it’s remained a catch-all space for my papers and other junk I’m too lazy to put away immediately. Not exactly how one should use the most precious real estate in the room.
Within a matter of days after realizing how underutilized this space was, I was online and in the stores searching for the perfect armchair. I’ve got no time to waste so I snatched up a purple wingback mid-century modern arm armchair. And after it arrives, I’ll find myself a perfect side table to go with it.
To say I’m proud is an understatement. I’m not just proud. I’m hopeful, excited, and inspired. I’m enthusiastic that this will help to resolve my inspiration and rhythm problem. I’m excited to see what fresh insights stream through from my new chair in front of the window.
I know this isn’t the entire solution to my problem but I feel strongly that it’s a big part of the solution. There are several other things I’m doing to get my groove back. It’s never just one thing after all. It’s usually a constellation of factors. Nonetheless, this piece about the impact of my space on my psyche has been plaguing me for months. I’m thrilled to have finally found these solutions.