No matter what, have one place that you won’t let get all crazy.
That’s what I learned years ago from my friend, Pam. She and her husband, Jim, had five young children and both worked full time. Pam taught middle school and Jim owned his own trucking company – both of which were stressful, time-and-energy-eating jobs. As you can imagine, it was hard to keep the house in order with all of their responsibilities. So, Pam made a rule for herself and the rest of the household. The rest of the house could get messy, but the living room stayed neat and organized no matter what.
“The rest of the house can get all crazy, but not the living room,” Pam explained. “That’s the one place that I won’t let get all crazy. I have to have one place I can go to feel at peace.”
In all the craziness of her life, Pam needed a place to go where things felt comfortable and ordered. she needed a place to unwind without being reminded of all the things waiting to be done and tended to on the other side of the door,
I’ve adopted Pam’s idea for my own household – to more or less success. We live in an open concept home, and so separating rooms is a bit tricky. It’s been tough to keep the chaos from the kitchen and dining room from slopping over into the living room. Still, I try to hold my ground.
Lately, that hasn’t seemed to be enough for me. I’m still feeling as though things are getting all crazy even when the living room isn’t. I need something more, something that will bring me the peace for which I’m longing.
What I really need it a retreat, but I haven’t the time or funds for that right now. I need to be able to get away without being able to get away.
One of my favorite things to do once the weather turns warmer is to sit on our second-story deck on the back of the house. It’s not very big – not even room size – but it’s quiet and pleasant, overlooking the yard and garden below. When I’m out there, I’m kind of nowhere. I’m not in the house where I’m reminded of tasks needing to be done or deadlines to be met, and I’m not in the yard where I’m reminded of weeds needing to be pulled and Ms. Daisy piles to be picked up from the lawn.
This spring, I decided to turn the back deck into a place where I can go to feel at peace. Furthermore, I decided that I wanted to be surrounded by growing things when I’m on the back deck.
I decided to start an urban garden.
My sweet husband indulged my whim, and so on Memorial Day we took off to the garden centers in search of plants that would grow well in pots as well as ones to fill the garden boxes in the backyard. It took us most of the day – much of the good stuff had already sold out – but we finally found just the rights plants. We happily loaded them into the back of the min-van and headed home.
My husband, youngest son, and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting everything planted – they tackling the garden boxes and me tackling my urban garden pots. Then the guys lugged the heavy pots up to the deck for me and we got them all arranged.