When we moved to a rented apartment, Marina was indignant: the tap was dripping, the curtains were “grandmother’s”, and the bed was standing in such a way that the morning light fell directly on the pillow and did not let you sleep. “But this is temporary! – she objected to the words that everything can be fixed. “This is not my apartment, I’m here for a little while!” The first lease was drawn up, as is usually the case, immediately for a year. Ten years have passed. She still lives in that apartment.
In search of stability, we often miss important moments that could change our life for the better today, bring more comfort to life, which would ultimately have a positive effect on mood and, possibly, on well-being.
Buddhists talk about the impermanence of life. Heraclitus is credited with the words that everything flows, everything changes. Looking back, each of us could confirm this truth. But does this mean that the temporary is not worth our efforts, is not worth making it comfortable, convenient? Why is a small segment of our life less valuable than its longer period?
It seems that many are simply not used to taking care of themselves here and now. Right today, to afford the best is not the most expensive, but the most convenient, not the most fashionable, but the most useful, right for your psychological and physical comfort. Perhaps we are lazy, and we disguise it with excuses and rational reflections about the waste of resources on temporary things.
But is comfort so unimportant at every moment of time? Sometimes it takes a few simple steps to improve your environment. Of course, it makes no sense to invest a lot of money in renovating a rented apartment. But fixing the faucet we use every day means doing better for ourselves.
“You shouldn’t go too far and think only about some mythical“ later ”
Gurgen Khachaturyan, psychotherapist
Marina’s story in the form in which she is described here is fraught with two psychological layers that are very characteristic of our time. The first is the syndrome of postponed life: “Now we will work at an accelerated pace, save up for a car, for an apartment, and only then we will live, travel, and create comfort for ourselves.”
The second is stable and largely Soviet patterns, patterns in which in the current life, here and now, there is no room for comfort, but there is something like suffering, torment. And yet the unwillingness to invest in your current well-being and good mood because of the inner fear that tomorrow this money may no longer exist.
Therefore, all of us, of course, should live here and now, but with a certain look forward. You cannot invest all your resources only in current well-being, and common sense dictates that the reserve for the future must also be left. On the other hand, you shouldn’t go too far and think only about some kind of mythical “later”, forgetting about the present time. Moreover, no one knows what this future will be like.
“It is important to understand whether we give ourselves the right to this space or live, trying not to take up much space”
Anastasia Gurneva, gestalt therapist
If this were psychological counseling, I would clarify a few points.
- How do home improvements come about? Are they done to take care of the home or yourself? If about yourself, then it is definitely worth it, and if improvements are made for the house, then the truth is, why invest in someone else’s.
- Where is the border between the temporary and … what, by the way? Forever, eternal? Does it happen at all? Does anyone have a guarantee? It happens that rented housing “overtakes” its own by the number of years lived there. And if the apartment is not his own, but, say, a young man, then is it worth investing in it? Is it temporary or not?
- The scale of the contribution to the comfort of the space. Is weekly cleaning ok but wallpaper not? Winding the tap with a rag is a suitable measure of caring for comfort, but calling a plumber is not? Where does this border lie?
- Where is the threshold of discomfort tolerance? It is known that the adaptation mechanism works: those things that hurt the eye and cause discomfort at the beginning of life in an apartment, eventually cease to be noticed. In general, this is even a useful process. What can be opposed to it? Restoring sensitivity to your feelings, comfort and discomfort through the practice of mindfulness.
You can dig even deeper: does a person give himself the right to this space or does he live, trying not to take up much space, being content with what is? Does he allow himself to insist on changes, transform the world around him at his own discretion? Waste energy, time and money to be at home in the space, creating comfort and keeping in touch with the place of residence?
Today Marina’s apartment looks cozy and she is comfortable there. During these ten years she had a husband who fixed the tap, chose new curtains with her and rearranged the furniture. It turned out that it was not possible to spend so much on this. But now they enjoy spending time at home, and recent circumstances have shown that this can be especially important.