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Cabin feaver in white walls

Updated on February 28, 2013

I've been suffering from cabin fever, which strikes me as ironic considering that I think what I need to combat my cabin fever is an actual cabin.

Atmosphere is an often ignored point in personal reflection. The places that we live and work in can directly influence our day-to-day moods. They can induce a sense of calm, of inspiration, of well-being. And our happiness is important. Studies have shown that laughter can prolong life. So our atmosphere is something well worth addressing.

So what is the best atmosphere? That is a question that cannot be answered by anyone but the person asking it. Choosing your calm place, your retreat, is as personal as your favorite hair cut, your eclectic or designer wardrobe, or your best choice of a pet for your family.

Many people enjoy an oceanic atmosphere, wind and waves, sea greens and light whites. Others enjoy a more traditional home atmosphere. The white fence around a colonial style house with a garden and a porch swing. Ok, so I am sure that most people will understand this so far and fill in the blanks.

But what happens when our foremost atmosphere that we find ourselves in does not match the one that is dearest to our hearts? How do we feel when we imagine that our hacienda should be a tiki palace? Well, some things that happen to me personally is that I find that my creativity is stifled. I feel uninspired. I lack energy, and while some things in my life add up to my ideals, there is always that small imbalance. My "scale" tilts a little too far to the right. And that is were the cabin fever comes into play. It is the point where the walls close in too tight and the lights burn in your eyes and all you want to do is escape.

I rent at the moment, and my house is too, how do I say it, clean? The white walls, the blue carpet, the wide open rooms are all much too bright and calm to inspire me. The white walls were painted with the purpose of bringing light inside, the carpet is new and stain resistant, and the open rooms do create that zen like "flow," but the flow only makes me wander around (making many unnecessary trips to the kitchen), the white walls cause me to wake up too early, and the carpet is stiff. Is it strange to want something less than what is popularly considered to be the perfect functional house? Is it insane to crave something more primitive?

This is a guilty admission! My house is like that nice girl in school that I never befriended. She was all right, sweet and interesting enough, but where was the chemistry needed for the friendship to actually last?

Chemistry is what I need now. I need dark walls, an old leather chair that creaks a little when I sit down, the orange glow from a floor lamp and 40 watt bulb. The carpet would have to be a little ragged, rough around the edges and smelling faintly like herbs and pipe tobacco. Masculine? Yes, the whole place should feel heavily masculine so that I would always feel a little romantic there. Add to that a beat up guitar in a corner, a record player and a full bookshelf, and I would have my perfect match.

My dark cabin, my lair in the sun-shiny world would inspire in me a kind of reverent awe and contemplative spirit where I could wrestle down the monstrous ideas of my life and then sit down for some black tea and a long-winded chapter of whatever book I'd be reading.

For now, though, I will make do with the white walls, for there are some benefits to waking up early, and having stain resistant carpets, and the frequent visits to the kitchen do at least keep my food from ever getting old and spoiling. And if the house gets to be too much, there are always borrowed spaces. After all, there are plenty of creaky leather chairs in small book stores and tiny local caffés that could substitute the one in my (un)perfect picture.

And that is what we all must do when we find ourselves in an atmosphere that is not quite ideal. I am not saying that we should always make-do with what we have, for finding and keeping your perfect atmosphere should always be a goal, but we can all be thankful that for the gads of us that have no real choice at the moment, there are all kinds of things to help us create ideal atmospheres out of the things we have to work with.

There are DIY videos that demonstrate all kinds of home improvements that you can make without too much money spent. There are almost limitless colors of paint to choose from that you could use to paint over that hideous olive green bathroom you hate so much. And furniture and personal photos, artwork and knicknacks can always make a place feel more like "you" and less like "them." With a careful introspection of what we really want our atmosphere to be, we can start moving in the right direction with our design choices, so that when we find that perfect place at last, all the choices that we have made will fit in seamlessly.


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