I meant to introduce DREAM. MIND. BODY. BEAUTY. LOVE. HOME. WORK. PLAY. through my experience of learning to Live Lightly, designing Life into my Dreams. I have learned that these spheres are absolutely interconnected, a seamless one, but I did not realise that I would be flowing from one story to the next quite so soon.
Home. Me. A long, dramatic flirtation.
In learning to Love and finding Loves that fit, I have begun to create a Circle that feels like home. These tantalising glimpses are so delicious, because the word ‘home’ and I have engaged in a long, dramatic flirtation and are now (I hope) entering the cheeky frustrating early dating, pre-honeymoon phase.
Having moved 25 times in my 26 years, home has always been an insta-just-add-water concept. When the suitcases hit the floor, we were home, and wherever and whatever that happened to be, it was chock-full of Hogan family love. Summers with our grandparents provided a constant so Emerald Beach was home too.
I always loved organising my few special things, making sure everything was in its own place, ordered by colour, just so. Pencil cases, my school desk, my wardrobe, mum’s old jewellery box. Little worlds that I could put together. Little nooks that were mine. MySpace as Steve Marquez so beautiful describes.
Trying on the world.
When I moved to college, and really began to try on the world, I created spaces filled with colour! Dorm rooms collaged floor to ceiling with glitter, sparkle and fairy lights. A dress up box of a wardrobe bursting with costumes.
I was studying Industrial Design and immersing myself in Philosophy and Sustainable Design. I finally had the dictionary. I could start to find the words to ask the BIG questions I had been unable to articulate. I was weaving the concepts of dematerialisation, Elaine Scarry’s beauty in use, decoupling use and ownership, share economy, sustainable system design and communication into my professional philosophy and practice. Still the most influential person in my professional life is my professor of Design Philosophy Cameron Tonkinwise.
Meanwhile, as I discovered beauty.
I was accumulating clutter, suffused with stories and memories.
When it came time to move into my first grown-up apartment, with my grown-up boyfriend I threw myself into homemaking, besotted with the idea of finally being able to put down roots, and create my own home, our own home. Every big purchase was another layer of safety and this-is-forever. When we moved it was to a more beautiful, expensive apartment overlooking Sydney’s skyline. And we moved again, to a gorgeous apartment in the heart of Melbourne.
But these homes were not me, the colours, the appliances, the bills, the extravagance. I had convinced myself that I wanted to buy a home, and that the discomfort I was feeling was immaturity, my Peter-Pan self throwing a tantrum.
But I just wanted the luxury of simplicity. To feel light.
As my values and purpose became clearer, and my passion for sustainability and design grew, I made tiny shifts. I bought less things on impulse. I started to give things away. I shopped at the farmers markets and made things from scratch. I made my own space to work and dream and create my business. I started to Live Lightly.
When I moved in with my beautiful roommate, we created a sanctuary so filled with love – friends sprawled across every inch, parties, sleepovers, elaborate cook-ups, music, giggles. We made a kooky little family. I fell in love with my city, my neighbourhood, my someone, and finally felt like I had created my home.
As I found myself, started aligning my life, Living Lightly, and embracing Luxurious Simplicity, I was increasingly able to release, to let go. First in my physical space, then in other spheres of my life. In practical terms I was doing the cliché minimalist thing, ebay-ing, repairing, regifting, lightening. Mentally I was releasing limiting beliefs, fear and expectations. I cancelled bills, plans, appointments, creating space in my finances and calendar.
Beauty became my lens.
Choosing what made me tingle and letting go of what didn’t. I was appearing increasingly kooky; friends worried that this minimalist phase was extreme and unpleasant. But I knew that every time I released something, I felt lighter, happier and more myself. I was pursuing the beauty of sophrosyne, though I have only just found this word. Harmony, peace, lightness, health, simplicity, and the space to create beauty.
Recently home has shifted again.
My friends and I are travelling, moving, changing jobs, and deciding what we want in life. Love is evolving and its strings are crisscrossing the globe. I went to Europe, a glam-nomad, a gorgeous friend hosting me in London, then a whirlwind trip, sailing in Greece, kayaking in Croatia, hiking the Plitvice Lakes, cycling in Amsterdam, wandering in Prague, a wedding in Helsinki, so filled with love, and discovering a sense of belonging in Estonia so surprising and tangible.
In all of my travels I have been trying on cities, losing myself in their uniquity, and seeing how each new environment enhanced parts of me. Cities have felt too big, too small, too industrial, too touristy, too hot, too cold. I’ve been looking for my elusive dream home, a place I fit perfectly
The latest adventure, two months completely immersed in new cities, without the comforts of home, sleeping on couches, in buses and tents, with my backpack and MacBook, too often showerless. Countless awestruck moments, quiet this-is-happening moments, I’m-exhausted-and-wouldn’t-mind-a-doona moments. Mostly I explored, and practiced yoga in incredible places and I worked, creating, designing, anywhere and everywhere. The beautiful discomfort of travelling gifts me with monsoonal torrents of inspiration.
Am I ready to try out location independence?
The thought insistent, not terribly surprising. What had my journey of Living Lightly been leading to, if not the opportunity to travel, work and live on my own terms?
So I returned to Melbourne, sold and gave away everything, in one day. It was much easier for me this way. And it was scary. And leaving Melbourne, not forever, but for now, bruised my heart. Because it was my first heart home.
So the word ‘home’ and I are on our second date.
This I what I have learned so far:
I feel home when I am connecting with my Loves. In person, on the phone, on Skype, on the Facebook and so on, in that order. Digital connections are not enough, but my Loves are all so mobile, I must learn to incorporate it into my idea of Love.
I adore being almost thing-less. The things that I have are beautiful. They fit in my backpack (I think it is beautiful too) which even I, with my silly decorative arms can carry. I am luxuriously light.
I can create my own sanctuary wherever I am. A simple space, a flower, just the right light. A nook that is mine.
I find home in routine. Little things that I do to centre myself, bookends for each day. Yoga, baths, taking time to cook yummy meals, writing in my journal (sometimes I remember), sunset walks.
I find home in my work. The ability to create and design wherever I am. I am a little too excited about talking work tomorrow.
I must now learn to find home in my new places. To reach out and get involved in the city I am in. Exploring every laneway, meeting my new fishmonger, popping into my new favourite store, visiting the farmers markets on Saturday, going to the gym, working in cafes, overcoming the new-girl nerves and jumping in.
But it takes work.
And sometimes I get a little tinge of loneliness, or what-am-I-doing, or I chicken out and work instead of pushing myself to get out and about. And I am learning to be okay with this. To be gentle with myself.
What is Home Lightly?
Home is a fluid concept.
For me it is less about stability, or constancy, definitely not in a physical sense, but that I feel myself, that I feel secure in my ability to handle myself in changing situations, that I feel connected to my Loves, and that I mindfully discover and create beauty. So perhaps I can have the best of both worlds. Creating the comfort of the familiar within the breathtaking adventure and inspiration of the new.
I am learning to Live Lightly.
I would be delighted to Tweet you!
What is your idea of home? How do you create your own sanctuary when away from home? Is home a physical place for you? A feeling? Something you can carry with you? Where is your home? Who is your home?