settling into your third place
Every winter, I don’t realize how much the darkness and weather affects me until the beginnings of spring and sunshine seep into my skin and I can definitely feel the transition. Of course, it’s usually paired with a major adjustment to my sleeping patterns. Which is to say that my sleep and patterns go to shit until I can adjust to the longer days.
We’re now in the depths of Spring, and the lead up to the transition has been all over the place. There have been so many life changes lately, and it feels like the energy of April had been “new starts and outlooks.” Though, with adjusting to these changes, the anxiety that was present at the start of the month persisted, and figuring out how to balance actually feeling all those feels with action around new scenarios was all so overwhelming. So, here we are. Finally putting together my disjointed thoughts floating around my brain into one spot.
With the warmer weather, I’m feeling the motivation to do and move. There has been a feeling of action and movement percolating in the air. Have you also felt it? For me, it’s been this persistent restlessness where whatever I attempted didn’t settle things for me. The feeling has stuck. So, I’ve been trying to find ways to feel grounded amidst chaos. I’ve written about journaling and morning pages as a regular part of my life for reflection, and grounding but I recently realized how much I appreciate the third place.
Currently, outside of home and work, I’ve been frequenting a coffee shop where I’ve definitely become a regular. It started off when I inadvertently took the earlier train into the city, and had to stop by a coffee shop before work to camp out for an hour. It was on my walking route to the shop, and I’d been to its other location years ago, so I knew the coffee would be good. I camped out with a journal, got a coffee, and just silently chilled by myself. It reminded me of me a decade earlier, exploring local coffee shops, finding new favourites in a city that I was newly welcomed back into, and making my way as an adult. There’s been something so lovely about finding a place where I’m a regular. A place where I’m comfortable, and have built a rapport with the folks who work there. Especially as of late, where my main place feels stressful or not my own, being able to feel myself in other environments, just … feels right. It feels as if, even despite my current circumstances, the city I love still welcomes me, and wants me there. And, that it just feels right for me.
Sometimes, I feel so silly having this much stress around a physical space. A place of belonging and comfort. But, really, it’s been a topic I’ve notice come up more and more in conversation. The idea of the third place. A place that is separate from the two major areas of our lives that take over and leaves little room for anything else (home and work, and lately they’re one and the same space). I feel we’re in a state now where we’re adjusting to a life “post-lockdown” and figuring what we’re bringing with us from the before to the now. What has served us, and what made sense, but no longer? What works now, and what do we crave? What do we need to feel fulfilled? I’m realizing, for myself, there’s a need for comfort in the familiar. So, what I do for myself is build ritual, routines, rhythms, that fit in my life. This includes the spaces through which all this happens. When a place feels like my own, I feel a comfort in being myself, and expressing certain sides of myself to others.
I usually find myself running from feelings, and avoiding Big Things so I don’t have to be brave, or deal with the inevitable. So, I have to remind myself of the spaces that ground me, and let me rest my mind and ease any of my racing thoughts. I’ve come to realize how much I live in my thoughts, and in the action. Which, to me, are so different from feeling my feels, and living in the moment. Living in the action makes me think of “going through the motions” but in a way that allows me to lose myself in the “doing” and the work, without thinking about anything else. I know I really excel at doing the work. So, when I find a space that lets me physically be present and also slow down, so that I can actually face all the things, and also safely think about the future in a way that isn’t overwhelming? I know that I’m comfortable there. I know it feels safe to me. I can connect with people, and still be by myself when I need to.
I always feel the need to apologize for an irregular schedule to my letters, but I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay. Life happens, I share what I want to share, and there are so many avenues where I share and chat and opine. If you ever want to chat, my email is open, my Instagram DMs are open, and if you have my number I love a text or a call.
Things I’m Into Lately
I finished reading Emily Henry’s Happy Place the week it came out, and I have so many feels. I’ve had people ask me to rank her romance books, and I don’t think I can do it anymore. I enjoy Emily as an author, and all her books have different vibes to them that it really just depends on personal preference. I like them for different reasons! I will say, though, I welled up and cried a lot in this one, and my heart squished so many times.
Of course, I’ve started Queen Charlotte on Netflix. I have two episodes left, and I haven’t wanted to watch them because I don’t want it to end. I’ve loved how the Bridgerton universe has adapted the real Charlotte and George to fit into the world, and finally explain some of the things not explained in the first series. I may feel a touch convenient, but the two of them are so ... lovely. And tragic.
That’s all really. If you have anything you’ve been into lately, please share.
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