‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free
‘Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
— “Simple Gifts,” Joseph Brackett
If you’ve seen me in person over the past four months you know I’ve lived that time away from home, during renovations. Four months or so away from home isn’t long, but in November my contractor told me he’d start Monday after Thanksgiving and could finish the project by Christmas. After just spending eight months in Shanghai, living away from home isn’t hard. The constant changing of expectations was harder. Four months becomes a long time when you keep thinking you’ll return home in a couple weeks. You don’t make your new place the center of your world and you end up commuting when you don’t want to.
Now I know better. I should have anticipated the problems when he didn’t even start the first week after Thanksgiving. I tried to understand someone being sick, not anticipating the sicknesses and family grievances to come, but that’s another story.
Last night I slept in my bed for the first time since December. This morning I ate in my home foods I get in the market near me. Since Shanghai delayed the trip, as did getting approvals and scheduling starting, it’s been about two years since the process started, meaning two years since I slept in a home I wasn’t waiting to change. I’m still not comfortably sleeping at home yet because the work isn’t finished and the building’s building-wide HVAC work put a big plastic tent by the foot of my bed to work on the riser in the wall.
Still, the experience changed my views on the importance of location, home, and family, as my sister and her family graciously hosted me longer than I’d expect most non-family hosts to, and my step-father’s experience with contractors and work around the house saved me more than I could have imagined, eventually creating some truly beautiful work in my home.
I alluded the other day to the hassles of commuting to your own home. I’ll write more about it, though what I write will certainly lack the venom I would have shown during the forty-five-minute-turned-three-hour-commutes I faced during one of New York City’s coldest winters I’ve seen. I’ll write more about home too, and discovering things you stored over a year, getting rid of things, and enjoying simple pleasures.
It’s been an adventure of awareness.
Simple pleasures of home
Sleeping in ones bed.
Waking up home instead of having to travel there.
Finding things you packed a long time ago that you like.
Realizing you can get rid of things you packed a long time ago that you don’t like.
Eating your favorite foods that you can only find in your neighborhood.
Things being where you want them.
Being where you want to be.
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