Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Making a Home

I'm gathering my thoughts as I write, so brace yourself for complete nonsense. As usual, my life is making me muse -and fret a little- about issues that probably aren't big. But they feel big.

For the past year, Math-Man has been living in a third floor apartment in an old house. It's literally a converted attic. It has a kitchen, a big living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. He has a card table, a mattress on the floor, a rocking chair, and one chair at the desk and one chair at the card table. There might be a lamp, but I'm not sure. And he's not "making do" with this arrangement. He's thriving. He thinks, with John Ruskin, "Every increased possession loads us with new weariness."

Of course, it's not true that it's a completely ascetic lifestyle, either. He puts flowers on the card table. He thought to shop for a tablecloth (round, for a square table, but he gets points for giving it a shot) and two cloth napkins. So, even he has some urge for beauty in his surroundings. Or possibly even the slightest (oh so VERY slight) urge toward "nesting", towards making a home rather just a campsite.

So, in the course of time, it became clear that I'm living there next year. We both knew that I would not be happy in that environment. What exactly that meant was less clear. It was hard for me to articulate what wouldn't work about his current space. I'm not sure that I have done it yet, even though we've chosen a new space already. It wasn't square footage. Two people can live comfortably in an apartment the size of his. I will need more furniture and curtains and "things" than he has, but that's not really about the space itself. Well, it kind of was about that particular space, because you couldn't really get much furniture up the twisty, windy stairs. If a passle of geometers tell me that there is no configuration that will allow a couch to pass through this space, I'm inclined to believe them.

Although.... come to think about it, I've gotten in some trouble believing mathematicians in the past.

So, what does make a home? I would have told you it was just the people, but that turned out not to be true. Now I'm looking at each thing I touch in the house and wondering if I'll take it with me. If not, why do I have it at all? There could be a good reason, but perhaps I should either figure out the reason or donate the thing in question.

And what do I need to gather my life around me, while remaining open to creating new adventures? Yarn.... my yoga mat... a few family pictures.... I'll be curious what else makes the cut.

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