Over ten years ago we had a sun-room added to the back of our house. I was lucky enough to be able to design it, and it instantly became my most favorite room. Whether it was pouring with rain, covered in snow, or just too hot to think, I could sit in that room and the world instantly became a better place. With windows all around and skylights up above, it was a small piece of paradise leading from my back door.
Then, one day, the air hockey table arrived, and my dream was gone. No matter how much I decorated around it, I could still see it; it ruined my view, and the flowered tablecloth and comfy sofa looked so uncomfortable with the intrusion of the noisy, plastic, over-sized toy. I briefly considered moving it into the dining room, but in reality the logistics of eating at an air hockey table was a bit odd, so I wondered if I could put a plant on it, or disguise it with some books and a blanket.
After a while I gave up, and accepted the room with the new addition, but I didn't like it, and what had seemed cozy and eclectic, now seemed cluttered and dismal. I liked to play air hockey, but curling up with a book was never quite the same when I had to stare at the sea of plastic, and check for flying discs before I walked in the room.
So, I did the crazy thing that some of us do; I moved everything around and around, like a ridiculous Rubik's cube that I couldn't solve, refusing to accept the 4 foot by 8 foot toy that took up half of the room. I was reluctant to take anything out, because it was my room, and I wanted that sofa and chair in there. It was my room, and I knew how I wanted it to look.
But whatever I did didn't make it look better, so I gave the room over to the cat and the dog. I gave up because I was annoyed, in denial, and letting go of my idyllic room was still not on my agenda. Now and again I would walk in, frown, and leave, until this past week.
During the Winter I had decided to store the wood for the stove in the entrance of the sun-room. (A well learned lesson from the previous year, when we got wood delivered, threw a tarpaulin over it, and promptly had a snow and ice storm. The next day we lost power, so you would have seen us standing on the ice, chipping away with shovels until one of us (me) fell through the wood pile and gashed her leg open). Anyway, bringing the wood inside before the snow meant that we always had wood for the fire, and no-one got damaged in the process.
So, last week I was stacking the leftover wood into neat piles, frowning at the sun-room, when I finally realized that it was just too crowded, and the air hockey table wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. I needed to let go of my old ideas, and I could make it just as nice if I tweaked it a bit.
As soon as I took out a few pieces of furniture I could see what I was dealing with, but before that I couldn't see the reality because of the fog and clutter of my own thoughts. It's funny, because it was so easy to change, and took no time at all, but I had become so emotionally invested in that room; I felt like I had been told to give up something important, and my stubbornness stopped me from actually adjusting and enjoying the room.
Now, I am happy to go back in. And while it is different than before, the differences have merged, and it has become a usable, lovable space again.