I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately. All kinds of space, but mental space especially.
Josh and I took on cleaning out his parents’ basement recently in preparation for a garage sale. You would not believe the number of VHS tapes we recycled. Or the number of times we heard from his dad about how each item is definitely going to sell, it’ll be worth a lot of money. just you wait.
Spending a weekend in a small dingy unfinished basement full of stuff, some worth the effort, most rotting away, it’s enough to make you want to go home and throw everything you own away. Especially when you live in a small one bedroom like we do, constantly running out of space as we work on projects, have company, or just clutter the space up with everyday life.
You have no idea how many times I walk around our little apartment bemoaning how little space we have. Then take a look at my work, a design firm in a basement office with samples piling up, full size tiles and carpets leaning against tables and walls, my boss’s desk overflowing with papers, huge plans floating around and scraps of yellow trace cluttering every open space. You can begin to see why I feel a bit claustrophobic.
It’s the mental space I find so unattainable, so fleeting.
But it’s not the physical space I’ve been trying to grasp lately. That can be achieved, even if it’s only temporary, by cleaning. A pretty simple matter when you get down to it. It’s the mental space I find so unattainable, so fleeting. I sit at a desk all day bombarded by emails, asking me to handle everything from technological issues to calendars to event coordination to proposal writing to design to social media posting to birthday treats to who knows what. I’m expected to respond and juggle them all in a timely efficient fashion. What I wouldn’t give to have a day where I can work on one project without being interrupted 20 times.
We also have an open office so quiet isn’t something you get very often. Everyone’s conversations are in your ears unless you can block them out, which I can’t. (I’m an eavesdropper at heart.) And then when it come to taking a break, how do I distract myself, how do I check out? Facebook. silly Facebook, bombarding my already limited mental capacity with ridiculous information that I just don’t really need to know. But what else is there to do when you don’t even have a window to look outside.
My dreams become these convoluted interwoven monologues of everything going on around me.
And let’s not even talk about when I come home. I research stuff, phone plans and recipes and who knows what on the internet. So much information. I read more Facebook. I watch Netflix. I watch TV. So much information, useless, pointless information constantly all around me. My dreams become these convoluted interwoven monologues of everything going on around me. I never feel like I have any space to really think, even in my sleep. And I’m too tired by all of the bombardment to think.
So I’ve been on this quest for the last couple of days to find some more mental space in my everyday experience. To stop the ridiculousness of turning every spare second to Facebook or email or whatever Google search I’m currently obsessed with. I crave something different, less instead of more. I don’t need to know what everybody on Facebook is doing or what the latest trend on BuzzFeed is. I need to hear my own voice and be present in my own life, not living someone else’s or reacting to the latest trend.
To stop the ridiculousness of turning every spare second to Facebook or email or whatever Google search I’m currently obsessed with. I crave something different, less instead of more.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. Habits are hard to break. There is something about this media culture that is insatiable, creating an appetite that cannot be satisfied. There is also something to be said about the busyness culture, the overstimulation, addiction to sights and sounds. It has become so uncomfortable to stare off into space or sit in silence. To sit and let what is inside surface instead suffocating it with all the noise of the world. I hate that. I hate that the noise of the world creeps in on me and threatens my internal dialogue.
Maybe that’s part of the problem. This noise, it comes from something good. Knowledge, unending knowledge.
Maybe that’s part of the problem. This noise, it comes from something good. Knowledge, unending knowledge. There is so much to be known, more than any generation before us and yet we know so little internally, about ourselves. We shift and blow with every passing gust of popular opinion, never knowing where we truly stand. Maybe a few moments less on Facebook, Buzzfeed, YouTube might mean a few moments more of me and who I am and where I stand. And I would like that. A little more of my own thoughts inside of my head and little less of everybody else’s.