My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow.
When I think about the calm that I have found here at Serenity Lodge, I realise that it’s not the setting I’m in; it’s the setting I’m not in.
This calm I’ve found isn’t because of the lack of WiFi. Nor is it from the sounds of the river or the leaves rustling in the breeze. And it’s not because of the beautiful views.
This calm isn’t because of where I am. This calm is because of where I am not.
This calm is because I am not in a shared house or a shared office, where even if I’m not being interrupted I am always on edge expecting an interruption.
When I am alone (and when I know my solitude won’t be interrupted) I can think out loud, talk out loud, sing out loud. I can be an uncensored, unrestrained me.
When I am sharing my space, I am confined to a (metaphorical and literal!) corner. Even if the room is empty, I know that someone could walk in at any moment. And then I risk being found “out loud”. I risk my thoughts and conversations being overheard. And I risk my songs being laughed at and mocked.
Now that I am preparing to leave this place of serenity and calm, I am becoming aware that I will be re-entering a life that’s filled with people.
And that’s hard to say because it then sounds like my lack of calm is because of other people. But it’s (mostly) not that other people cause me stress. Instead, it’s because I don’t feel secure in my alone time when I have it. (Which is ironic, since I also feel quite lonely and isolated at times. But again, that’s not a lack of people, it’s a lack of a confidante.)
What I do know is that this calm has meant my productivity (and happiness) level has increased. I am feeling inspired and motivated and I actually want to work. This calm has meant I’m sleeping better, eating better, and even enjoying my downtime better.
I know that the best way to keep calm is for me to find a place of my own; for me to have my own space (no offence to my housemate and landlord, who would probably be thrilled to see me go!). But I also know that I cannot afford that until I am finished with my PhD.
So if the best way isn’t possible, what’s my next option?
If I’m honest, I don’t know.
I suppose I could cross my fingers and pray that I land a few more housesitting gigs that allow me to live alone for short periods of time here and there. But most people are done with their summer holidays now so that won’t get me through my PhD write-up stage.
I could try to create new working patterns that would allow me more time at home and in the office without others being around. But that would mean being in the office all weekend. And working late at night, when I’m more of a 10 o’clock bedtime girl.
Or I can just accept that I have to suck it up and forgo this extreme calm until I am done with my studies and I can get a job. And the job, of course, will be the key to my affording my own place once again.
But for now, I am going to enjoy the last evening of calm here at Serenity Lodge…