The simple life

architecture-1087820_1920I love a simple life. A quiet existence where I have everything I need and nothing more. Having too much stuff distracts me from what’s really important. It’s the people who matter to me, not the things. I want my mind to be free to focus on what I value: my relationships and self-improvement.

Unfortunately, I have a pack-rat for a roommate. She displays knickknacks throughout the living room and likes to stack her entire tea collection on the kitchen counter. But it’s her space too, so I try to keep things in perspective.

While I may not have complete control over the shared spaces, my room is different. My room is my sanctuary. It’s clean and quiet. There’s no clutter. A few frames adorn the walls, a string of lights, some travel shots. It’s a cute room with matching colours and simple pleasures. It’s very much me. It’s my escape and where I go to unwind.

Since our shift into winter, I’ve had more time to clean and tidy up indoors. I can remove the clutter that slowly piles up and reclaim the quiet corners of my room. This past week I’ve gone through my room, closet, and storage bins, purging them of unnecessary items. It’s a work in progress but clearing out space in my closet is so addicting!

How’s your week been?

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5 roommate tips

people-2561065_1920I wrote an earlier post here on roommate challenges. They’re definitely still there but I had a good conversation with my roommate last night and I’m hopeful. I can’t remember how it began. But we ended up talking about our differences in energy and how much social time we need. I’m hoping I was able to articulate how essential quiet time is for me. It’s also helped me better understand how she functions. It was comfortable and hopefully leads to some small positive changes. I wanted to share a few things that have helped me and given me a more balanced perspective on things.

1. Communication is key.
This is vital in any relationship but especially if you live with the person. I need to tell her when I’m feeling burned out and that I’ll be recharging for a couple of hours. That way she won’t feel like I’m purposely avoiding her. Having a self-deprecating, “it’s me, not you” kind of attitude can help too.

2. Door closed = quiet time.
If I want to be alone, I shut my door. That’s the signal that I’m recharging or busy. I also hang a sign on my door with a cute illustration and the words “recharging – do not disturb”. I’m also working to create a peaceful oasis in my room for maximum relaxation.

3. Reset your perspective.
As an introvert, dealing with an extrovert’s chattiness can be a challenge. But it’s just as challenging for an extrovert to deal with an introvert’s aloofness and not take it personally. Extroverts need to socialize as much as we need them to leave us alone. When you have a roommate, the shared spaces are no longer places to recharge. They become the social hub. So if I’m in the living room, it’s because I’m mentally prepared to talk.

4. Find other escapes.
Shutting the door isn’t the only way to get alone time. I like to go for long walks after supper for some much needed quiet time and reflection. Even a solo gym or coffee date can help me decompress as well.

5. Compromise.
I need a lot of quiet time and I will take what I need. But I value my friendship with her and don’t want her to feel that she’s living with a stranger. So every night I’ll spend some time with her. We’ll either eat dinner together or chat for a bit before bed. We get to connect and I still get my quiet time.

Any other ideas?

6 roommate pet peeves

bonding-1985863_1920It’s been a busy weekend and it hasn’t slowed down yet. So I’ve been treading water and looking forward to a quieter weekend coming up. I wanted to share a post on the lighter side. Here are a few examples pulled from seven years of shared living experience.

1. They want to constantly socialize.
As soon as you walk into the kitchen, they pop out of their room and start talking. It may start with a question about your day. But it inevitable leads to a monologue about their own. Or they’ll talk to you the entire time you’re meal prepping and have no way of escape.

2. They monopolize the shared spaces.
Now I understand the living room and kitchen are shared spaces. But they spend hours in the living room scrolling on their phone. Or they have loud phone discussions I can hear through my door. If you went into your room I wouldn’t be able to hear you.

3. They leave things empty.
Almost every time I walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, the pitcher is suspiciously low. It’s never empty. But there’s only ever a mouthful left sitting in the bottom. Please fill it up once in a while.

4. They let things pile up.
Life is busy. Having a few dishes in the sink doesn’t bother me. But it becomes a problem when the dishes take over both sinks. As I no longer have room to do my own dishes. Also, please stop leaving random stuff in the living room for months. Just put it away.

5. They forget important things.
Like turning off the lights before they leave. Do they wonder why the electricity bill has doubled since they moved in? Or failing to lock the door on the way out. Please stop.

6. They leave things to smell.
Rather than taking out the garbage when it’s full, they balance things on top. Or they leave their stinky shoes/gym clothes at the front foyer and that’s all I smell when I walk in.

What are your pet peeves?

Roommate challenges

girls-1209321_1920It’s been nearly three months since my extroverted roommate moved in. It’s been a good experience overall. Both of us keep things clean and tidy which is great. She’s a lovely person but there’s a huge difference in our personalities and it’s been a bit of a struggle at times.

To me, a roommate is someone who shares rent. Someone you can chat with when you cross paths. But otherwise you maintain separate lives. I get the feeling she’s looking for a best friend. Someone who’s game for late night pizza runs and all-nighters. But I’m not that person. I don’t have the energy nor the inclination.

She comes across as confident but she’s also needy. If she hears me in the kitchen, she’ll join me. If I’m in the living room, she’s sitting beside me or talking to me from her room. She’ll ask me where I’m going if I’m heading out. She’ll ask me why I’m getting back later after a dance class or workout. She’s likely just curious and making conversation, but it can be stifling. She got a gym membership at the same gym and suggested we work out together. Even if I wanted to, our schedules and routines are so different that I don’t see the point. I often dread going home. Sometimes I’ll spend time at a quiet coffee shop after work, to postpone the inevitable.

It hasn’t been all bad though. We’ve connected through a few shared hobbies. And I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve been getting plenty of chances to practice saying ‘no’. I’m learning to prioritize my health. And I no longer feel guilty for closing my door and recharging in my room. I’m really hoping that once it warms up she’ll get out more. And maybe I can have a quiet evening alone 😉

Do you have any suggestions?

 

4 introvert tips: roommates

people-2567915_1920.jpgOver the last 6 years, I’ve had 9 roommates. Most were college roommates in a shared dorm. The rest were after I moved back to Canada and started working full time. I’ve enjoyed about a year of blissful, quiet, solo living at my current place. But unfortunately, it’s not a financially sustainable option. One of my friends moved in at the beginning of the month and it’s going well so far. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years. For both living with roommates and staying true to your introverted self.

1. Communication.
This is key for any kind of relationship but especially if you share a living space. I’m not good at expressing my point of view or needs, but I’m getting better. My new roommate is open and approachable. Even ‘difficult’ conversations are easier with her. Hashing out utility costs, responsibilities, and schedules has brought us closer together. It’s been a positive experience so far.

2. Schedule quiet time.
My roommate works early morning to early afternoon. So she’s almost always home when I get back after work. As much as I enjoy catching up with her over supper, I need my quiet time. So I’ll always take an hour (or more) to go for a walk or sit in my room to recharge.

3. Establish and enforce boundaries.
This one is vitally important for everyone but especially for introverts. Boundaries protect your peace of mind and health. Here are a few of mine:

-You need my permission to enter my room, every time.
-I will take the alone time I need each day.
-I do not lend out my clothing, nor do I let anyone use my computer or phone.
-You cannot drive my car.
-I will give you rides, but it’s based on my schedule and willingness.
-I have the right to say no, without explanation. I can also change my mind.
-If you try to guilt trip me into doing something, I’ll refuse.

4. Practice patience and forgiveness.
I’m not perfect and I appreciate when others give me the space to live and learn. Forgiving others gives you peace of mind and helps smooth out relationships. Sharing cooking and laundry facilities creates opportunities for compromise. But this does not mean others can treat you like a doormat. If you are being undermined or ignored, that’s unacceptable. If your needs and desires are being trampled on, that’s not okay. It’s both healthy and necessary to bring up your concerns, and act on them if things don’t change.

What kind of roommate experiences have you had?