It’s been, I think, three weeks since I moved into the new bedroom. Going on a month, maybe. I love that room.
I love it not only because it means the end to major structural work. Not only because the house is so much cozier now with all those airleaks filled (and there were many). I love it not only because it has that giant, accidental closet. Those are good, practical reasons. But there’s another dimension.
I love it because it’s serene. It’s dark and quiet. I never hear my neighbor going to work at 3:45 in his big Dodge RAM crew-cab diesel truck. I love it because I didn’t move into it until every detail was finished so I wouldn’t end up fretting over procrastination and disharmony. I love it because it’s new and clean and looks like a cross between Granny’s bedroom ca. 1955 and modern thriftstore chic. I love it that when I turn on a nightlight inside the curtained closet, the sheers look like a Japanese lantern.
Around the time I moved into it, I began to make some rules for the room. I didn’t want it to lose its special quality. I wanted both to keep the room in wonderful condition and to remind myself to appreciate it.
The first rule: Critters don’t sleep there.
I feel like Mommie Dearest, but Ava and the cat are adapting quite well. I invite them onto the bed for a few minutes petting and praising, but they sleep in the living room and usually make the decision on their own. The room stays cleaner. I sleep better.
There is the occasional exception.
Anyhow, I didn’t set out to make rules for myself. But once I’d been inhabiting a cozy, comfortable, disruption-free corner of the house for the first time in almost five years, I felt moved to preserve the new peace.
Second rule: Never bring anything into the room without knowing exactly where it fits.
Maybe some people can be serene amid clutter, but those people are not me. The room will never be allowed to get either messy or overfilled with stuff. With the new rule, I’m conscious of every library book or bag of snackies that goes through the door.
The third rule is the hardest, much more important one. And I fear I may be jinxing it by writing about it. But this very important rule is (to put it in a rather abstract way) that the room exists only in a given moment.
The room has no past or future. Or rather, it doesn’t have my past or future. It does not contain either childhood grievances or worries about a job to be done tomorrow. It does not hold that silly embarrassment or that shot-through-the-heart betrayal from 20 years ago. Worries about poverty or a future of unfreedom do not exist in the new bedroom.
I made a mantra: “This room holds only this moment.” It times nicely with heartbeats and breaths. Whenever some old thought comes up, I banish it with that thought.
I suppose it’s very Buddhist. Is that what “mindfulness” is? I don’t know. I just know that the spell of banishment of other times works.
And this is after a lifetime of being a worrier.
It’s also, only after maybe a week or so and during a time where no bad personal thing is going on. So we shall see. Keeping such patient resolve will get harder.
Now, with all that said, it’s time for Brian Wilson from long, long ago, turning the Beach Boys personal: