Changing spaces trading places


Yesterday I found myself thinking about what it must be like to be the master of something. To have wholly dedicated yourself to one art form, trade, or skill. To know the ins, the outs, the rule of thumb, and to be an expert in the exceptions to the rule. The more I thought about it, I began to see that it boiled down to time.

I envy the people who say, “Oh, I’ve been doing this since I was four,” and I am immediately filled with admiration and awe for the dedication and commitment. I often find myself wishing that I had a something that one day I could say, “Oh that? I’ve been doing it for eighty years.”

So far, the things that come to mind are things like breathing, eating (oh a heck lot of eating) and the aftermath of the aforementioned activity. I kind of felt that I didn’t have anything of a significance time frame to add to my merit because things, situations, places in my life are prone to alternations. But then, last night I came home to a change. A big big big change.

My room had been moved.

I’ve had that room since I was 10. At merely a decade I moved my stuff into that room, over time I swapped too-small or out of date clothes for new ones, I added a few personal touches of me, I shaped myself and my routine to that space, and the smallest room in the house became my comfort zone.  Being an introvert, that was my domain and within it’s walls I unraveled myself, eased myself into night, and roused myself into morning.

There had been talk in the family of me switching rooms, but after a long tiring day at work I didn’t expect to come home to find my bed moved, my clothes gone, my shelved emptied, and everything I possessed shifted.

Standing in my now-significantly-more-spacious new room, I felt like an outsider. I am SO thankful my family made the all-day-effort to do all of the work for me, but it’s an unsettling feeling to feel like a stranger among your belongings. For a moment I was left alone in my new surrounding, and I was surprised to find a sadness creeping into the emotional crevasses inside of me – it had never occurred to me before that I was connected to my room.

Having grown up in different places, being sent to boarding school, going off to college, I’ve never been attached to places – rooms, houses, cities, and countries all surmised to a pillow under my head at night. But  that small room with my books from childhood, with the large closet of comfort, with the space fitted to me between vacations, between trips ‘home’, with the furniture that was never rearranged – it was one of my very very very few constants that I always had to ‘come back’ to.

I like my new room, I really do. It’s much larger, it’s sunnier, I actually have floor space and and a desk to work at, I have a beautiful spot under a large window to curl up and read – but in a odd way, it feels like I’ve entered someone else’s space and that someone else just so happens to have the exact same things I do.

But now I guess comes the part that I excel at – adapting. To arrange myself to the new setting, to find a routine that fits the new location of my wardrobe, my shoes, my accessories, and my mirror. To develop habits that are still ‘me’, to find comfort with the new and to make myself familiar with the way things now are. And here, maybe, is where I find my time tested constant, because things like living in the same house your whole life and being married to the same person for 40 years don’t come across like resume worthy achievements, so for me, I guess I could say, “Moving and adapting? – oh I’ve been doing that since I was five.”

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