Needs vs values in your living room

Needs vs values in your living room

It’s not so much that my living space reflects me or my values, though I suppose it does in a way. What I’ve done is make my living space fit the needs I have. Because I’m extremely sensitive to the physical world. I feel everything - the light, the sounds, the air quality - and if it’s wrong then I can’t function the way I want.

Well, OK. I could function. But I wouldn’t be happy or productive. And we can’t have that.

My needs are not especially complicated: a reasonably quiet space (regular traffic noise is OK, but I don’t want to hear my neighbour fart), with high ceilings because I dislike feeling like I’m underground, enough daylight, cleanliness, and absolutely no clutter. Clutter is visual pollution that turns your brain into an unproductive pinball machine. My place is so sparse it barely has any decorations. I like it that way.

My space is a small two-bedroom apartment in a new building. It’s nicely sound insulated. It’s also clean and tidy. It has big windows and a patio door off the living room. It faces south, on purpose. Because I need lots of light but not necessarily the heavy glare of the afternoon sun.

I was chatting with a lady yesterday whose apartment also has large windows, and she hadn’t realized she didn’t know where the sun was most of the day. She’d picked her apartment without thinking about its orientation, which I suppose is the way most people do it. Quite possibly I’m the weird one. You wouldn’t be the first ones to think that.

South-facing windows give me the morning sun on the balcony, all the way from sunrise to midday-ish. Then Mr. Sun rounds the corner and disappears to my right, towards the west. I still get the afternoon light, but not its direct rays. This makes a major difference in my life during the warmer months. Oh yes, because - I forgot to tell you this - I have a huge need to be outside as much as possible. That’s why I run outside instead of on the treadmill because on top of everything else treadmills are boring. There’s nothing to look at except the TV, which is kind of like visual clutter except worse. It’s jog outside or don’t jog. In the winter, when the sidewalks are too icy, there’s no jog. I run early in the morning, and in the winter in Canada mornings are pitch black. You can’t see the ice. That doesn’t make for good happy exercise. I go to the swimming pool instead.

It’s March as I write this, and here in the great white north it’s still snowy and cold and miserable. I’ve been living like a mushroom for months. Since December, when it became too cold to sit outside except bundled up. Which I still do on sunny days. That’s how serious my need for fresh air and sunshine is. I put my coat, hats and mitts on, and go sit outside with a book or something just to force myself to absorb a few rays. Without natural light I’m afraid I could wither and die.

(I’m not just weird, I’m also dramatic. I think it’s charming.)

I like my place. I don’t think it would tell you anything about my values. But it suits my needs.

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