Happiness is a red couch

Blogger’s update: with a new blogging platform, Luigi will now be referred to as Ci.

I am trying to learn to be a former student. It is a harder transition than I expected.

It has been almost 2 months since I defended and the reality is slowly sinking in: I am done!

Although I hoped I would be jumping into my post-doc lifestyle, my brain and emotions must catch up to the calendar.

During the final throes of the dissertation, I began watching ER while doing analysis.

Photo by Frank Okay on Unsplash

Now I spend a lot of time still watching ER. I am so close to done, but since it is ER and went on forever, I still have so many episodes left! I have this weird determination to finish the darn show.

I can start planning to do things in the evenings now. This is so weird, and I am slowly learning how to do this.

Releasing the Poverty Mindset

After scrounging on scraps for so many years, learning to feel OK about spending on things is a hard turn to make.

My new (to me) sectional sofa is a growth moment for me.

We have lived in our current house for 4 years and are going to stay here for at least another year. We really don’t like it; it is a boring, ranch-style house in a curvy-street subdivision. We have a beautiful yard that we can sometimes enjoy, if the neighbors’ dogs are not barking at us. But the house itself has a horrible layout. Rooms are closed up and there is a decent size living room in the middle of the house. The room is closed except for a doorway, and instead of being able to see any of the house from the room, we can only see the front door. But it does have nice big windows that overlook the back yard.

Now that I have my PhD, I have declared that I need to start acting like  being a grownup in some ways. My resolution is to STOP hanging out in my room and using my bed as my primary seating when I am at home. I am not at this point in my life any more.

Photo by Emily Marie on Unsplash

I want to start using my living room instead, like a grownup. Furthermore, the room goes unused most of the time. We are 5 people living in 1200 square feet and we have 175 square feet of living space sitting smack dab in the middle of our house, collecting clutter while we scurry off to our rooms or sit at our desks. This is no way to live!

In order to start using the living room, we first have to like the living room.

My furnishing style has been to find something cheap or free, maybe fix it up and maybe not, and use it somewhere in the house. Doesn’t matter if I like it or if it works in the space; free or cheap have been my guiding principles. There are sentiments of deservingness wrapped up there that I won’t dive into now.

Surely I can do something with this, right!
Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash

Right now we have a very boring beige couch.

Three people can fit on it, but 5 people live here. The room is also host to some desks and bookshelves and random stuff. I consulted the family and we brainstormed some fixes to make it more inviting.

Clearly we need more seating. We talked about getting another couch. Ci and I sat and looked through Craigslist. I found a sectional that I love. It is red and squishy and it is just an L without an ottoman and every piece has a back. It was beautiful and made me smile. It was being sold for $250. This is a great price for a sectional, especially one that was custom made. I looked at it, starred it, and then went back to browsing. I found another boring beige couch for free! I picked up my phone to text the free couch folks.

Ci stopped me and asked me why. Why was I planning to get another boring couch when there is a nice one that we like?

I stopped and thought about it. I was doing what I always do: going with the cheapest option because it is the cheapest adequate option. And then I thought about all the couches we have been through because I keep getting the cheapest option, not one I love. There is so much time spent finding a new couch and passing along the old one. There is so much psychic energy expended in disliking the current one and deciding whether it is okay to live with or not. How about we try going with what we like or love from the beginning?

This was a radical shift. I will still be careful with money. After all, I just spent $250, whereas the average sofa runs over $1,000  (and since it is a sectional, it is really like a couch and a love seat).  But I am weaning myself from the notion that cheapest is the only option I have. Pictures of our beautiful new seating later, as we are picking it up this weekend.

This is all part of the learning process.