This summer, I decided I needed to set up my outdoor space. Outdoor space was a must-have for me when I searched for my next apartment. Long before the Pandemic, I learned that having outdoor space was necessary for my mental health. When I first moved into my first apartment years ago, it had no outdoor space, and I struggled because, looking back, I knew I needed a place to go and commune with nature.
Finally, this year, after living in my current apartment for the second year, it was time to make my small balcony my own. After weeks of researching what I could do with the space, I finally settled on some affordable pieces I was happy with and budget-friendly. I knew I wouldn’t spend much time there because I live in Ohio. Winter would be here before I knew it, and summers can get pretty hot, making it uncomfortable to sit out too long. Nevertheless, I began the journey and started putting the space together.
The space is clean and straightforward, but the first weekend I spent out there became just what I needed. I lit a candle, poured myself a glass of wine, playing music, and just sat there. A tree branch is hanging near my balcony, so my spot has become an excellent place to bird-watch or read. I don’t know how spending a few dollars on this space has become my favorite place in my house. It is something simple, but it makes me truly happy.
It’s truly peaceful.
Determining what happens means for me has everything to do with how I create happy places in my life and my mind. I am often anxious about memories or worries about the future. Happiness for me has been trying to find moments where I am present in the moment. Most of the world around me is primarily fast-paced by design. Surrounded by a digital world, I discovered the need to disconnect was necessary for me. I make it a habit not to use social media on my balcony. I listen to music if I don’t feel like reading, or I sit and stare at the clouds, and often I feel the anxiety and worry lift from my shoulders, freeing me.
I have a few happy places. Some are stored in the corridors of my mind since I can’t physically get to a few of them. The beach is one of them. There is something about hearing the waves crashing towards the shore or sitting on the beach just looking out. I can spend hours there under an umbrella just listening to the ocean crash against the shore. These places are secret places inside of me. When anxiety overwhelms me, I go to those places in my mind seeking an escape.
Nature permits me to be.