I sit on the bed in the half-lotus position successfully after months of stretching. To my left are two notebooks of ideas and projects I’ve began over the last year. They’re hardly filled but the pages that are used are detailed and cover everything from interviews to music albums I enjoy. There’s a plate on my right with the remains of pizza from the best hangout spot in downtown Charleston.
This is the last week that I will spend in this room, I want to take it all in. In front of me, a map of the world is plastered to the wall. It’s littered with arrows to places I’ve been and places I want to travel to. Behind me are maps of Scandinavia, the United States, and Europe. They remind me that the world is tangible and only an arm’s reach away.
Whiteboards cover my closet door and any remaining wall space. They’re small but contain different information for the day. One holds blog topics that require more time to write, such as concepts I’ve been thinking about for months. Another holds inspirational quotes that I try to live by in daily life. One above my sink reminds me which vitamins and supplements to take, what time to take them, and how much.
In the background The Thermals play “I’m Gonna Change Your Life” and sound fills my room. The bookcase to my right is full and an excess of books covers my entertainment center, where a TV would be located if I owned one. The titles of these books all revolved around “the road”, whether it be leaving the road, “On the Road“, “Off the Road“, “The Open Road“. Most of them are travel biographies and memoirs, which carry me to faraway places when I’m unable to travel to them myself.
A miniature Buddha guards my lamp and sits meditating with a calm expression. The figure matches another small statue of Buddha on my desk sitting in the lotus position. Together I think that they remind me to sit down and breathe. A candle melts and an orange perfume mixes with the scent of stale pizza. My room isn’t perfect but neither am I.
There are a few pieces of art that are scattered around; a cover of “Quiescent Mag“, some artwork by Kavan The Kid, a watercolor by Sarah Nieman, and a few paintings by Carolyn Snyder. They keep me in touch with the artist inside. Their work serves as a reminder to create and share with the world. Art is a form of communication, and I relate to what they have created.
The small refrigerator issued to my dorm room is covered with postcards. Many of them are from Minnesota, where I’m from, but there are a few from other countries and around the United States. Among them are pictures of friends that I haven’t seen in years and one of my dad when he was deployed. Above the ‘fridge a prized toaster sits. After months of them being banned, my appreciation for toast has risen exponentially. Next to it is TAZO wild sweet orange tea and a container of whey protein. A few more containers fill the area with contents from multivitamins to wheat grass.
This is the place I have spent the last six months growing. It a home of mine, not my sole home, but one that I will remember fondly. There were, of course, days where the air conditioning died and the hot water stopped running, but I’ve fallen in love with it, even in its imperfections. The tile flooring is cold to walk on at night and slippery after a shower. And it seems like every horizontal surface gathers dust quicker than I can clean. My blankets are torn but this is what I call home. This is where I live.
Even in its worst, it’s a place where I find shelter. After long days of working, I joyously collapse on my bed. When Charleston is in a downpour, it’s a place to shed wet clothing and dry out. Days when I want quiet and peace, I find it sitting on my bed, where I’m sitting now.
I wish I could preserve this moment but I know that times are changing. Where I stand will be different tomorrow, next week, and next year. I can feel the change happening but I don’t resist it. I’ve called many places home and I’ve found myself all over the country. This room, in all of its glory, is just a room. It’s a moment in time, a fragment of my life, that I will look back on. I sit on this bed now and take all that in so one day I will have something to look back on. If you don’t breathe your life in, what will you remember in five or ten years?