Stepping into our new place on moving day a few days, it immediately felt like home, and I felt the heavy weight on my shoulders from the last several months of life’s frustrations gently lifting. It is truly amazing how being in a different environment can have such a dramatic effect on one’s outlook. When you feel warmly welcomed and openly embraced in a new setting, moods brighten, energy increases, creative blocks lift, attitudes positively shift and the daily grind feels like far less a burden. Ditching the debris and decay of the past and embracing the fresh start of the present, it even feels easier to be a more positive and supportive partner. Getting into bed that first night, I felt completely ease as I fell asleep, and I slept soundly—until 4 a.m. The next night I was wide-awake at 2 a.m. What could be driving the dichotomy of a joyous and calming new life and the disruptive nights of sleep? Was it something as simple as sleeping on the wrong side of bed?
For the last two years that we have been living together, Warrior Poet and I have had a specific side of the bed—he on the right, and I on the left. Middle of the night bathroom breaks weren’t so disruptive as my side of the bed was so close to the door that there was nothing on which to stumble. Most of my furniture and clothing were in a smaller room adjacent to the bedroom, so there was little else besides the bed and night tables.
Now, our bedroom was full of furniture—and of course, that first night was also full of unpacked boxes. When I woke up to the sound of restless feet shuffling together on the sheets in the wee hours of our first morning here, I stumbled in the unfamiliar dark before taking a huge spill after tripping over a suitcase, which was in the middle of the floor. I slowly cautiously made my way back from to the bed, getting in on the right side of bed, as my main bureau fit best beside it. After an hour to an hour-and-a-half of tossing and turning, with sore bones and a stinging abrasion on my hand, I was finally able to fall back asleep.
The next day, I woke up ready to attack the day, despite my disrupted sleep. I completed unpacking boxes for the kitchen and finished the fun task of finding a home for the dishes, glasses, cutlery, pots, pans, oils and spices. Easily the biggest and most beautiful kitchen I’ve had as an adult, I was thrilled to be able find a proper home for everything we currently own and to realize we still have a copious amount of cabinet and counter space left over.
With that settled, I tackled the clothes, towels and sheets that had built up during the extremely busy week before the move and that had gotten dirty and dusty during the move. In our last home, the old dryer broke early on and stopped heating, so one medium to large load of laundry easily took most of the day to dry. Towels, sweaters, jeans and gis hung on chairs in our big ballroom, drying stiffly and uncomfortably. Our new home has a new washer and dryer, and a load of laundry completely dries in less than an hour and half. My excitement over the ease of doing laundry now prompted me to do four loads that first full day in the house alone.
Attached to the laundry room is a modern bathroom filled with a dizzying amount of storage space. I got to work unloading and organizing towels and toiletries. My overflow of personal care products were just lined up in lazy rows on the shelves—I would have to return to the task later to make a more pleasing and accessible arrangement.
Next, I made my way back to the bedroom, also with impressive storage space. The new room was significantly bigger than our last place, allowing us to store both my big bureau, one of WP’s dressers, two night tables and still have plenty of room to navigate around our king-size bed. However, my favorite part of the bedroom is the row of cedar closets that extend to the tall ceiling. One closet has two, long stacked racks to hang clothes on, and the other has one long rack for clothes and other miscellaneous items, with plenty of room for shoes and a near-full-length mirror. WP put his second dresser in the third closet, which perfectly fits under his rack of clothes. In the hallway is a deep storage closet to put all of our out-of-season clothing. After years of living in clutter, not knowing where more than half of my clothes were if I even remembered I still owned them in the first place, every item of clothing now has a proper home that I can clearly see and access. Instead of dressing in whatever is closest and clean, I can now outfit myself with intention, reflecting my own style and personality.
Just as I was running out of steam, my mother arrived for the late afternoon until WP got home from his first day of work. Both exhausted by the day’s end, he and I grabbed food, a prescription at the pharmacy and groceries to last us at least through the middle of the week. At home, we chatted on our bed, eating through whoopie pies and reminiscing over relics from childhood before reading ourselves to sleep.
Again, I slept incredibly soundly—until 2 a.m. I was either too hot from the humidity or a bit too chilled from the fan, and WP was starting to encroach on my side of the bed. His phone began incessantly flashing with light, which further woke me up. I rested in bed for a while in hopes that I would soon return to sleep. Eventually, I had to escape to the kitchen, where I began writing. After a couple hours, heavy rain began to fall, dousing the steamy stickiness in the air. I decided to return to bed, though I remained awake until after 6:30 a.m. Hoping I would be able to sleep late, my circadian clock (and the activity upstairs) kicked me into alertness again shortly after 8 a.m.
Mentally shot, after breakfast and dishes, I returned to the physical work of unpacking boxes. Now that WP and I are sharing an office by necessity in this house, I worked to delineate our work zones in the room. I staggered the desk placement on each long wall and consolidated my files and notebooks. I unpacked books and decided which to store as reference materials in the office bookcase and which to serve as a resource or inspiration in my yoga room. I felt freed and empowered as I released the clutter from the office and set up a work area that would inspire me.
When WP got home from work, we began decorating our main room with our photos, trinkets and doodads. WP put one of our favorite art pieces on the wall and then started setting up his side of the office. He put together the futon in the living room, rearranged the furniture in the bedroom and began to organize his own clothes. After we took all the now-empty boxes down into the basement, we embraced each other and marveled at how the new place was slowly starting to look like home.
After WP made our first homemade dinner in the new kitchen, we headed to the bedroom to start watching our weekly shows on the laptop. Cozied up on our pillows, we discussed what might be waking me up in the middle of night. WP offered to switch back to our normal places, but I decided I would give my new side of the bed one more night’s chance. Again, we read until sleep over took us. And there I slumbered until 8 a.m. the next morning.
I realize now that my mind and body weren’t protesting over a new side of the bed. I was simply taking time to wake up to the reality that this gorgeous place was really ours. Gone were the water leaks that looked like states and countries; the girly, colonial-style wallpaper; the sinking floors, broken windows and cracked floors. In its place now was a modern, cared-for home that begged to be filled and embraced with love. This morning, I am ready to get back to my creative work and fully enjoy this beautiful new space that is now clearly ours.