Recently I did a little Q & A session for my paliest, the Sarah Adler, and a group of her clients. I think I must have brought up the fact that often times when people first move into a space, they’re in a rush to unpack, and so things get placed wherever they hurriedly do, and there they likely stay. For years. Decades, even! Whether or not the location of various items makes sense down the road, if ever.
I encouraged her group to really consider whether the stuff of their home made sense where it happened to live, and to be aware of opportunities to make their daily routines easier by moving things around, shifting locations, swapping and tweaking.
“Don’t fall into the ‘But I’m just so used to looking for the placemats in this cupboard!’ whine whine,” I said. Our brains are magical entities that have this capacity to learn and adapt. Sure, you might go to look for the placemats in that one cupboard a couple of times, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you catch on and learn to open that other cupboard, instead.
Changes are good for us. They challenge our brains, which keeps us awake and in tune, rather than sleep walking through life.
Our society is motivated by the American Dream, the notion of a right to infinite opportunity, DIY, we-can-do-anything, can-tackle-anything, can-make-everything-better-bigger-faster, spirt. At the same time, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is practically encoded into our DNA. Leave well enough alone. Don’t go looking for problems where there aren’t any.
I wouldn’t call that bad advice, necessarily. I wouldn’t argue that we should all be spending our days focusing on the faults and weak points of systems, and our creative endeavors, and our living rooms. That kind of negative mindset doesn’t often perpetuate happiness and a feeling of fulfillment, after all.
Only, a state of resignation, of settling, of not-disturbing doesn’t really lead to unbounded joy in my book, either.
Seems to me that as everything evolves and we do, there is continually room for improvements and tweaking. The key is to accept things for how they are, accept that it will never be perfect, and then, rather than looking for what’s broken about your furniture layout or your cupboards, look for the hint of an arrangement that excites you.
Mostly, it’s good to just play. To keep things fluid and fresh. Nothing is permanent. Everything is changeable and equally, change-back-able. Do you know many tables I’ve moved from that side of the room to that other side to that first side again for clients?
Without changes, big or small, we lose our ability to actually see our lives, to evaluate them, to have them register. Familiarity (we’re back at this lesson again) can ultimately be blinding.
This weekend, I’m high-jacking the assignment or extending its reach and encouraging you all to make a few, Simple tweaks around your space. Try a different furniture layout. Switch up the art placement. Move the coffee maker from that countertop to that other one. Rearrange the ordering of your books, of your shoes, of your clothing.
Make some tweak that allows you to step back and be able to see it all over again for the first time. To appreciate it all over again for the first time.
That’s it. Go make change. God speed. Report back.
Image credit: Decor8