Stuff of happiness

After almost a year of dwelling in my current apartment, I have a dining table. I don’t actually have a dining room, but I thought I could use a table nonetheless. I’ve managed to squeeze it (and two chairs) in among my other living room furniture and stacks of boxes that remain unpacked or just haven’t been stowed away. The place doesn’t look complete yet. It’s cluttered, due to the aforementioned boxes, and too much wall space remains unadorned. My bedroom is even worse. Socks and underwear, sweaters and bras lie exposed in bins on the floor. Being directly under the window, they get cold in winter and hot in summer. At least they don’t get the musty smell associated with containment in a dresser drawer. But it’s a mess. Luckily I spend most of my time outside the bedroom.

When I moved in I was thrilled with the idea of creating a home from scratch: choosing furniture, decorating, hanging photos. I wanted to make a home that was inviting, a place where I’d be happy to spend time. I wanted to employ color schemes and complementary (if not matching) styles, but nothing too fashionable or too slick. Just because I long ago discarded the idea of making a career out of interior design, I shouldn’t neglect the opportunity to indulge those latent desires in my own home. All that I had were a few vague ideas: dark wood furniture, green fabrics in the bathroom, red and blue and purple for the living room, yellow and blue in the kitchen, and purple in the bedroom. Toward those ends I procured some green bath towels, blue dish towels, and a purple bedspread. As a whole, however, my apartment screams “Thank you Craigslist!” and my design theme is Things That Aren’t Junk That Somebody Was Willing To Deliver. Starting with a forty-dollar chair that didn’t fit my envisioned color scheme, I’ve somewhat grudgingly collected the necessary functional pieces. Really, I couldn’t afford to be very picky. Everything does go nicely together, at least, if not consistently with my initial ideas.

It has taken an overly long time to get to the point of completing my living room. My new and exciting urban environment has proved very distracting, and I’ve been sidetracked by internal struggles as well. Now that a year has passed I’m beginning to feel truly settled. For the past few weeks, especially, I’ve been very energetic and inspired (except during that 100+ heat wave). I’m throwing aside my excuses for not having a decently put-together home. I’m unwrapping picture frames, and searching for updated photos to replace the ones that have graced my walls and shelves since college. I’m thinking of new (small) decorating projects. I’m contacting purveyors of Craigslist furniture with little hesitation, because imperfect furniture is better than none—hence my recent purchase of the dining table on which my computer now sits.

Why keep denying myself? I’ve already come so far in shaping my life into something satisfying. Even little things, and material things, make a difference. There are certain items that I’ve always aspired to incorporate into my home. Among those is sun tea; I have always loved the simple idea of making sun tea and keeping a pitcher in the fridge during summertime. I just hadn’t bothered to add “iced tea pitcher” to my mental shopping list. Today, I’m proud to say that my first batch of sun-brewed tea has just been finished and placed in the refrigerator. My kitchen typically doesn’t have much to offer, but at least it has fresh iced tea. That is the stuff of happiness.

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