Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking Out, Looking In

I have thing about being up high. Maybe it's something to do with the elevation I was born at (in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado), or just an general preference, but living at the very edge of a tiny mountain ridge near a vast spread of rice fields is not really my happy place. Thankfully, I don't care how I get up high, so being in a tall building works, too. I enjoyed living on the second floor in our apartment (also, bugs were less of an issue...) but living in a one story house is taking some adjusting.

To compensate, I hung the engineer print Mum got me for my birthday last year above my desk - it's a photo I took looking out the window of the 13th floor office that I worked in in New York. I love that there aren't any definable landmarks so only I know that it's Manhattan, and I love the sensation of looking down from a high place that it gives me.

I wonder, too, if my love of heights has something to do with feeling safe - like I'm out of reach of danger. It suits my squirrelish nature of loving to curl up with a soft blanket, some fuzzy knitting or an engaging book, and a cup of tea. Then from up high, I can keep an eye on the exits while still feeling cozy and comfortable.

Or it could be the Adventurous Introvert - wanting to Go Forth and Explore, but also have a safe place to return to at the end of the day. Maybe that's how the British were able to plant their flag around the world - by never exploring or conquering with so great an urgency that they were forced to abandon their rituals and comforts in the pursuit.

Comfort gets such a bad rap sometimes, like it's a crutch that's holding us back. But I love JRR Tolkien's hobbits - while the elves and men and dwarves and orcs were destroying each other (and themselves) with imbalanced pursuit of knowledge and wealth and property and power, the hobbits had quietly accepted where they were and how it was. They planted and ate, worked and celebrated, and in the end they were the stronger for it.

Because it's harder to say no than to say yes. It's harder to maintain boundaries than it is to be a human doormat. It's harder to recognize and admit your weaknesses than it is to work until you collapse. In a culture where Busy and Stress are worn like badges of honor, Space and Quiet have to be fought for - but the return is worth the effort.

So while I recognize that there are times for adventures (and that adventures are not all pony rides in May sunshine), I embrace the flowered chair, beloved journal, and hot cup of tea that await me at the end of them. Because opening our arms to what brings us joy - a window view, a favorite seat, a new candle - isn't weakness. It takes a brazen sort of courage, in itself.

2717. Engineer prints
2718. Running into some neighbors from our apartment at Target
2719. Eating cookies in the car
2720. A whole jammy day
2721. Getting all the boxes out of Tobin's room
2722. Staying up way too late knitting and watching a movie

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