week twenty-three: kicking myself out of the house

newroomI’m the first one to admit that I’ve lost perspective. The parameters of  “normal” adult human behavior are kind of fuzzy.  And while I usually feel somewhat adult-like or adultish, it’s often in the sense that there’s no one to stop me from doing stupid (and sometimes wonderful) things like eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner as I did yesterday.

Pete Holmes gets it (go to 2:50 of this clip if you’re one of those full-blown, 100% adults that don’t have time to listen to nearly four whole minutes of comedy). Pete Holmes: Things Adults Can Do

For 13 years, I’ve used the converted back porch of my house as a massage space for my private practice. For about 7 years this has been my sole source of income. Maintaining a private practice out of a home I own is, admittedly, very grown up of me. But I’ve always had this feeling that I was getting away with something by keeping a commute that was only a few seconds long. A home office meant less debt and less responsibility. Until a few days I ago, I didn’t realize that it also meant less commitment.

My home studio is small but sweet and I tried to keep it nice despite the chipped paint on the old floor boards and the door latches that worked only with the right percentage of humidity. All the quirks of my yard and home were tucked under the word “cozy” and I trusted that clients comfortable with my kind of cozy would enjoy the space and the work I offered there.

Then two things happened simultaneously: Business got slow and stayed slow for an uncomfortable period of time and I started coveting a little storefront space attached to the studio where I study yoga. The result is that, this week, I signed a lease on that space and moved my business out of my house for the first time ever.

The day after I’d seen my last home office client, I came back to the house after running an errand and was surprised by a rush of feeling toward my slanty shanty. Home. And only my home. My lungs suddenly had more room, my joints more movement. I didn’t even know I’d been cramped.

The first day of seeing clients in my new space elicited a similar swelling of space inside me. I didn’t know I’d been so tense. I’d been telling people that I was changing locations because I was tired of being isolated from others and wanted to be a part of a bigger community,but I didn’t really believe that. Solitude has always been essential to me and community has always been a concept I preferred to appreciate from a distance. And yet, I immediately felt at ease greeting the yoga teachers and students at the studio and welcoming both new and old clients into my fresh, clean space.

I now encourage conversation and feel more engaged with my clients. Despite the chaos of transition, the new space feels like the right amount of challenge. I’m like the scruffy, unruly kid who suddenly starts behaving well when cleaned up and given a nice set of clothes. I’m going to try really hard to keep things looking nice and try even harder to live up to expectations. All adult-like and shit.

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