I'm typing this at my desk as I listen to the rain outside, and I'm so grateful to be in my warm, cozy home. My home has shifted a lot in the last few years, after moving in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and I'm sure I'll be finding a new home soon enough. But why I've truly embraced domesticity, and why, I believe, it's embraced me back and helped my personal and professional lives succeed where before they hadn't, is that I've been willing to give back to my home.
When I was in the worst of my hoarding days, I refused to take even the tiniest steps to take care of my home. Cut to today where every day I vacuum my kitchen and wash and put away dishes and clean the stove. Where I rush to take out the recycling the moment a piece of paper or aluminum can is ready to go. Yesterday, I vacuumed the carpet in my room and then was inspired to do some of the common areas too.
I'm not suddenly some super neat person, but I've come to not just appreciate but deeply need all the ways we've set up this home. It's not just mine, it's ours, and that joint pride makes me want even more to make it my own. I have a print of my favorite Georgia O'Keeffe painting on my wall. The truth is, since it's to my right, not facing me, I don't actually pause and savor its beauty and message as often as I should. Sort of like the "open" tattoo on my back that I sometimes take for granted. I love having a gigantic bedroom/office with all my books displayed, easily within reach. I love having my own bathroom and a walk in closet that still feels like such a luxury sometimes I simply sit on the floor in it and read, because I've never had a closet where I was able to do that. I have even come to embrace suburbia.
No, it doesn't have the rush of New York, where on Monday night, Natalie Merchant, Ringo Starr and Pharrell were all speaking (and I'm sure there were plenty of other celebrities doing interesting things as well). But what my life in suburbia may lack in glamour and culture, it more than makes up for in peacefulness. I'd venture to say that when I lived in New York, I didn't want that peacefulness, or at least, not enough to make it a priority. I wanted the thrill of rushing from here to there, of nonstop events, of feeling so "busy" all the time. Now, I actually am working on looking at my 2016 events and business plans so that I can both do the work I want to do, make enough to not worry about my bills, and also have enough time for me and the other important things in life. I moved to New Jersey because I was ready for a different way of life, and every time I leave and return, I'm all the more aware of how ready that life was for me as well.
I could tell you right now about the things I've published recently, about nutscaping and erectile dysfunction and crowdfunded vibrators, and if you are interested in those topics, I do encourage you to read those. But I'm more focused on what's next; I usually am. I'm getting ready for a big month: November brings the start of a new LitReactor class that I'm gearing up for with new interviews and information for my students, my new book Dirty Dates, events in Savannah and Washington, DC, and turning 40, which is sneaking up on me so fast, I feel like I barely have time to say goodbye to my chaotic, often ridiculous, tumultuous and all-over-the-map thirties.
I fly to Savannah on Wednesday, and I return home on Tuesday, my birthday. In the meantime, I'm focusing on appreciating what's right in front of me, and knowing that I can have that sense of quiet and calm and beauty wherever I live, if I put the effort into it.