Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Assessing The Situation

Around this time of year, I like to get organized and get ready for a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. It's sort of a habit. Or, more like a compulsion.

I've already made lists and drawn diagrams. Oh yes. Diagrams. We are going to move some furniture from one room to the next. I've thought it all out.

It's just that we've lived in one place--this house--for five years. It's the longest I've ever lived in one place since I left Ephrata, Washington for college at WSU. And in five years, we change.
What seemed like a good thing five years ago is inadequate now.

Our guest room will share duties as a study for me. I'm putting in bookshelves, my desk and a reading chair. I'm painting the walls light green. The windows face southeast, so I can have some houseplants on the windowsill. The reason for my decision is that I fight clutter all over the house and I spread my books and stuff in so many places sometimes it is hard to keep track of them. And by the computer, it gets in both Dennis' and my way.

Sometimes, you just have to start over.

But will I actually use the room as intended? I prefer to be in the middle of things, instead of hidden away from the rooms we frequently use together. I do get an empty feeling when I work on my new plans for the study--no matter how nice it will be, it won't be the same as blogging in the same room where Dennis is watching football. Or having a quiet time seated at the dining room table while Dennis is in the living room on the open level below me. The study, I guess, will be more about organization than really needing a place to work or read.

When studying in school, I preferred crowded libraries, the student union cafes, the full lounges and my parent's living room, where family walked by or sat in the next room talking. I shared a bedroom with my sister for many years, and then had roommates for several years in college. I rarely ever had a space all my own.

Then I got married. Sharing living space with my husband has never been a problem, even though we are different. I like things neat. His clutter needs corraling--"everything in it's place" apparently is a saying he never learned growing up. In fact, it feels strange only having one person to share a home with. I've always been happy surrounded by roommates, family and friends.

My sister and I were talking yesterday and the phrase "giving people space to be empowered to(fill in the blank)" came up a lot. There's something to think about--how does one give people "space"? My sense of personal space--physically and emotionally--is most likely much smaller than most. What is adequate for me might be really be stifling for someone else.

How I am enables me to work for several hours behind a counter doing repetitive work in close proximity with several other co-workers without feeling crowded in or uncomfortable. I can tell when I am working with someone who doesn't tolerate the confined area. They keep wanting to "spread out" or pushing people and things away from them. Everything gets in their way and makes them frustrated. They want to do things away from their assigned position and jobs, and float away from the line. At the right times, they are good candidates for projects in other parts of the store. I'm pretty different than that--I get very focused at what I do. I often have blinders on as a result of being too focused and too narrow. I'm working on stepping back and getting a wider view, and it is helping a lot. My job place is a good example of how different people respond uniquely to space or the lack of it.

So, giving space, stepping back, assessing the situation and getting a bigger picture are going to be a new way for me to operate not only in the workplace but also in relationships.

I'll keep you all posted.

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