Life here at Number 27 is generally a very gentle experience. I can usually expect serenity and quiet on a Saturday morning. Not so this morning; there is construction very nearby, and my music is re-mixed with sounds of hammering, and the coarse humor of the workers, calling to each other from above and below, some on the roof, some on the ground. I hear a drill, or a power saw a moment later, more hammering. This is not a quiet morning. I turn Lil Jon up louder.

Home.

Home.

I woke much earlier than the work began, and I am happy enough that I wasn’t awakened by construction noise on a morning I was trying to sleep in. I remind myself that many people I interact with in the community today were likely not so fortunate, and neighbors may be irritable because of the noise. It’s tempting to be aggravated that my peaceful weekend is being disturbed by construction noise – I mean, seriously? It’s got to be more expensive to pay this crew to keep working through the weekend! As I feel the irritation develop, I take a breath and smile, and acknowledge that the needs of displaced families inconvenience by the exposed wall, the missing windows, the unfinished roof, are a great deal more important than the inconvenience of the noise for the rest of us.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

As I made my coffee, I observed that I had used up my original purchase of 100 #1 unbleached coffee filters… already? How was it I thought that would last my first three months? That was unrealistic – even counting on me to drink just one cup of coffee a day that’s just bad math – and assumes I am an ungenerous hostess with visitors. lol I’m up to two cups of coffee in the mornings, myself, and sometimes three on weekend days, but drinking only 8-10 ounce cups using pour-over brewing, instead of 16 ounce mugs with 4 shots of espresso. I entertain friends more than I have in many years. The math is clear; 100 coffee filters does not last 90 days.

I’m just 65 days into living solo. I am still ‘getting to know me’, and figuring out ‘my way’ of doing things. I’ve learned quite a lot about this woman I have grown to be over the years. I find that there are quirks and habits I have that – regardless of peculiarity – I really favor, and find value in, and they are a part of who I am that I am eager to nurture and build on.

  • I take the trash out every night before I got to bed. It’s not about whether that’s necessary; I just prefer not to sleep near garbage, or have it lingering near my kitchen.
  • I vacuum most days by preference. I’d do it every day, but sometimes I just don’t. It’s not that I’m throwing sand in the house, or have animals living indoors, or a lot of mess – but I really really like the way clean carpet feels on bare feet. I walk on the rug every day – why would I not also vacuum every day?
  • When I load the dishwasher, I put the flatware in the basket ‘handles up’ – so that when I unload the dishwasher I’m not touching the end I’ll be putting in my mouth later – and I always wash my hands before I unload the dishwasher. It’s my way.
  • I make my bed every day – but I’m not about ‘hospital corners’ or bouncing quarters off the comforter – I just like it to look tidy. I change the linens regularly – never less than every week, sometimes 2-3 times a week, certainly any time I sweat up the sheets. I like the way clean sheets and blankets feel.
  • I manage my lighting to maintain the ambiance that feels best to me personally for the time of day…soft intimate lighting in the evening, bright artificial light when I am cleaning or working, and as much natural light as I can get, supplemented with artificial light, when I am painting… I enjoy light, and the way light can play on emotions and aesthetic.
  • I lock my front door, more out of habit than concern…I’m often sitting here writing with the patio door open, soft breezes coming in through the screen – locking the front door is not about security (I’m pretty sure the spiders do not care that the door is locked, and I worry about those getting in more than ‘intruders’).
  • I foster an emotional environment that is calm, welcoming, and drama free – and manage a great deal of success there, making this the most singularly easy-on-the-heart living arrangement I’ve ever had.
  • I am learning over time to treat myself well without much rigorous habitual behavior, and benefiting greatly from letting habits and routine support me – but not control me. This is a work in progress, but so far so good.

I have learned that the woman in the mirror invests heavily in how things feel – most of my choices are about building a beautiful life from the perspective of feeling at ease with myself and my environment long-term. I don’t care much how other people choose to do things, or whether I ‘measure up’ to some other standard. It’s nice to make so many small choices entirely on my own, and really find out what ‘my way’ actually is. I smile a quiet thank you at my traveling partner, enjoying his own Saturday morning on the other side of town; he recognized how badly I needed this, and how much the lack of individual development in this area of my life skills was hurting us, together.

Every project requires tools, a plan, and verbs.

Every project requires tools, a plan, and verbs.

I find that I am also very human – and sometimes struggle to meet my own needs easily, or recognize them in a timely fashion – I learn as I go along. It’s enough to do my best, and to try again when I miss.

  • When I am feeling low, or terribly fatigued, or in a lot of pain, I struggle to find my ideal balance between letting stuff go, and investing in the effort to handle tasks I know I will be irked about if I don’t do them.
  • I still struggle to treat myself with the tender consideration I give others that I love, and I can be pretty hard on myself when I wake and notice that indeed I left that coffee cup in the sink over night, or get home from work to notice I forgot to make my bed when I left for work in haste after losing track of time watching a great Skrillex video.
  • Slowly loosening my grip on rigid habits intended to support good self-care and emotional self-sufficiency, to learn to take the very best care of myself, and build sustainable no-bullshit lasting emotional self-sufficiency is fucking scary as hell, and I sometimes struggle with the emotional outcome of ‘failing myself’ in small ways – instead of supporting myself compassionately, and trusting incremental change over time is the inevitable result of practicing good practices.

I smile, noticing that the ratio of ‘things I easily identify as being pleased with about the woman in the mirror’ to ‘things I struggle with rather a lot’ is very much in favor of things I am pleased with. That feels pretty amazing. Just noticing it seems like a very nice thing to do for myself this morning. I sip my coffee grinning without any self-consciousness, guilt, or discomfort.

Today is a good day to sit down with myself and appreciate my progress. 65 days living with the woman in the mirror – she’s a good sort, and not bad to live with. She does tend to be rather particular, but she loves me, and does her best to care for me with great kindness, consideration, respect, and tenderness. She’s learning.