Written by Alta Clark
Alta Clark is pursuer of many paths, her current one being the start of a degree as an R.N., where she hopes to take her knowledge and apply it to her world climbing, skiing, dancing, and traveling. She has traditionally filled the role of mentor and educator, and is inspired by working with young people and women. Her life goals include being able to incorporate medicine with exercise physiology and psychology to help people understand that there are infinite approaches to serving their bodies and spirit.
Check out other articles written by Alta here.
Life on the Move
For the first 5 years after moving out of my parents house I didn’t spend more than 8 months in a single place. I moved to another state for school, switched schools, switched states, changed houses, and found out-of-town jobs as often as I could. Initially this process was so exciting. I got to see so many new parts of the world and meet so many new people, and was content with being able to fit all of my belongings in my little Subaru.
As the years went by though, the excitement and adrenaline of being in a new place every few months began to wear off. I felt a chronic anxiousness and fatigue, but it took me a long time to narrow in on where exactly this feeling was coming from. I kept having to say goodbye to people that I cared for deeply, knowing that the odds were great that I would never see them again, and these severed ties began to weigh on me deeply.
What I realized is that I was ignoring a core part of myself that longed for stability and connection. I kept choosing the rush of experiencing new places over the tranquility of making myself a home, and that I needed to find a way to honor both parts of myself.
When I finally settled into a home and began making it mine, I realized how much I enjoy the “home-making” process. I qualify myself as a highly sensitive person who notices flows of energy, color, light, smell, etc., and making a home for myself that accommodated those things was an addictive problem solving exercise for me. I began to relish the feeling of crawling into my own bed every night with my own sheets, and waking up in the mornings to make tea with my own special tea pot. Once I established a routine and created an environment that I felt comfortable and safe in, I realized how important that safety is for me. At a young age I taught myself to thrive in chaos, but I am steadily learning that longevity requires more thoughtfulness than I gave it credit for.
I denied myself these needs for a long time. I would always associate “making a home” with being materialistic or consumerist. I denied myself the joys and comfort of having my own things because I viewed my attachment to them as being flawed or needing to be overcome. This came from a very black and white mentality of either having everything or nothing, and as I’ve grown older I’ve realized how unrealistic that expectation is, and I have come to know a balance between excess and enough.
Now that I’m back in a position of volatility, I am reminded of how important having a stable home base is for me. I took a job in a town 30 minutes from where I live and I’ve resolved to couch-surf wherever I can to stay close to my work. Needless to say the couches that I’ve surfed on have been comfortable, and my hosts are welcoming, but I can’t deny the ache that I feel for my own quiet and private space. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable as a guest, and this extra bit of daily tension has an impact on my mental clarity and resilience. I find myself experiencing more and more difficulty with coming to work every day with all of the energy and attention that I want to give.
As an introverted person I rely on having quiet places to go to recharge after a long day. Not having access to a sacred space that serves this purpose means that every day feels continuously more difficult than the one before and by the end of the week I am absolutely exhausted. I have to keep plugging along even though my battery is empty, which obviously impacts my mental and physical health, but also affects my ability to bring one hundred percent of myself to everything that I do.
Grateful for Home
This experience has helped me realize the power of spaces and the gratitude I have for my home. I am also reminded to celebrate the process that I went through of allowing myself to be comfortable in my home. Instead of forcing myself to settle into the new or strange or uncomfortable, I have given myself permission to long for and appreciate the tranquility of a familiar space. I have gained so much respect for the rejuvenating effect of being able to sit quietly in my home, and I am making a promise to myself now that when I return home to relish every moment I have in it.