I’ve been influenced by my physical surroundings for as far back as my memory goes, and I’m convinced it’s not just by nature of being a visual person, but rather something that all people experience. Simply put, a space has the ability to transform your mood, your productivity, your actions, and even your mental health. Though it’s not the path I pursue currently, I started off my creative career in interior design by nature of being intrigued by this idea at a very early age. I would go on tours of homes around Los Angeles with my mom and loved witnessing how other people lived; how they arranged their knick-knacks on their bedside table and what part of the room they chose to situate their desks. I loved the idea of a space that had so clearly marked the lines between various activities.
Growing up, I was always conscious of keeping things tidy around me as I found it to be a way to feel centered and calm. I find that this idea is no different to me as an adult, and still serves as the basis for me to create order in the rest of my life. As I’m sure many can relate, an unmade bed, a messy car and stacks of paper spilling over your desk usually means things are a bit scattered in other aspects of your life. Without getting too fēng shuǐ about it, I do believe that designating different spaces to different things in your life can harmonize you with your surrounding environment.
These days, I practice this idea in a variety of ways, one of the most beneficial of which has been separating my work and living space. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a separate building for the two, but creating clear boundaries between where work ends and life begins is essential. Similarly, creating a space for where you read, where you rest, where you eat and where you socialize all help to create a sense of balance in your day-to-day. When you think about it, we seek out very different qualities for each of these actions and it only makes sense to dedicate a separate space in which to do them. For example, we usually want our work spaces to be soothing and clear of distractions to focus on our tasks, whereas when we meet up with a friend after work is over, we crave stimulation both socially and visually. And when we get home in the evening, we desire a comfortable space to unwind and feel safe.
The nature for humans to mold their spaces to their needs is perhaps what makes them so intriguing to us. A peek into someone’s home can say so much about them, and in recent years we’ve seen such a gravitation towards wanting to look inside. I feel like I could dissect this topic endlessly, but instead I’ll turn it over to you. How do you live? How do you make your space in this world unique to you? What qualities do you seek out? As always, would love to hear. —Jessica
One of my favorite poems by Billy Collins, Advice to Writers, makes the mundane act of cleaning your office sound like a religious experience. I get lost in the details and leave the poem feeling refreshed and ready to create. In a way, Collins is talking about rituals that facilitate writing, and in another way he is talking about removing distractions and getting in a creative mindset by transforming a space. These thoughts have influenced my routine in a profound way and I am constantly working to bring this awareness into my creative spaces.
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