In the past week I’ve watched a couple of episodes of Stay Here on Netflix. It is a show that hits several aspirational living sweet spots. It shows before and after renovation, it has education about how to run a good vacation rental, and it teases with interesting travel destinations. It really succeeds at making me want to go stay in the places that are featured on the show, which I can’t do mid-pandemic with my current tight finances. However I can watch the show and dream about getting to visit, so the show falls into a comfort watch category.
The part of the show that keeps lingering in my mind is the section where the home owner is taught about how to create a setting that is welcoming and intriguing to guests. It had me thinking about my own home and how I might make it more welcoming. Of course we aren’t having any guests right now, probably not for a year. But I’ve always found it sad when someone fixes up their home so that they can sell it instead of fixing it up so they can enjoy it. I find myself thinking the same thoughts about these guest-welcoming amenities. How much lovelier my life would be if I treat myself as my own guest. If the me of today takes time to make the surroundings pleasant so that the me of tomorrow can be happy to walk into them.
It is a form of self care, this planning ahead to make my life pleasant. It is a form that previously puzzled me. On shows I see women setting up candles and an elaborate bath in order to relax, and it all looked like so much work. If I wanted to rest, that meant I wanted to stop, not plan ahead and organize a big display for myself. I misunderstood something in that process. If I wait until I’m in need of a break to set up one for myself, then I don’t always make the optimal choices for how to rest my mind and heart. Just like if I wait until I’m hungry to plan food, I’ll choose the things that are easiest rather than the things which are healthiest for me. Instead self care is planning ahead when I am at a high-energy part of day. It is me taking some of my focused time to plan ahead for when I am tired. This is the true form of self care. So that tired me can reside in a place of welcoming rest that is already prepared for her.
Setting up to make a guest of myself is going to take some time and planning. Some of it is clearing space by getting rid of superfluous possessions. Some is the remodeling we’re doing to make all our spaces more beautiful and functional. Some is re-imagining our rooms with “being welcoming” in mind. I’ll progress toward it a little at a time. It was what I was doing with our back patio without being conscious of it, because I was deliberately creating it as a space to welcome guests and in the process made a space that welcomes me. Now I just need to do the same for the inside of the house where the only guests will be people who live here.