I have spent the past year with my head between my knees, taking deep breaths and trying not to notice I am living in an apartment. It’s not really happening, it’s not really happening, it’s not really happening sings the song in my head. It’s as if I think I am going to click the heels of my red shoes together and poof! I will be back in the country surrounded by wilderness and bird song.
This is not a helpful way to live.
I picked up a book at a garage sale over the summer called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen takes the reader along for a year in her life as she searches for ways to be happier by taking on a different self improvement project every month. The part that had the biggest impact on me was when she wrote about how much she loved apartment living. It was a light bulb moment. Up until then I just assumed living in an apartment was something people endured, not preferred.
Wow. Just reading that over is insulting to even me, and I just wrote it, so I can’t imagine how it must read to those who love apartment life. But bear with me here. Just knowing that people enjoyed living in an apartment was enough to get my head out from between my knees and look around at my new home. Instead of listening to the voice in my head singing it’s not really happening I started to think, This is happening and maybe it’s not so bad.
Winter has arrived with its usual snow-thaw-freeze menu. Our summer walking trails have been transformed into ice covered rivers and by 6 pm it is dark outside. Last night I decided to walk the apartment instead. I walked the length of our floor, ran down the stairs, walked the length of the floor below me, etc. until I reached the bottom and then I made my way back up again. As I passed by the doors of the other apartments I heard all the sounds and scents of lives being lived. A woman laughing, a man talking, music playing. There were suppers cooking, incense burning and what may or may not have been pot.
It made me smile.There was a coziness in it all. A sense of community. All of us coming home at night to the same roof and walls. By not thinking about where I came from or where I was heading, but just staying present I discovered a crumb of joy in the now.
Sometimes a crumb is all you get. Sometimes it is enough.