Whenever I set goals or try to gain a fresh perspective on life, I find myself torn between comfortable routines and an itching desire to push myself outside this safe zone of “knowns.” I guess the key is simply finding a balance between the familiar and the foreign — establishing just enough creature comforts and stability in our lives to give us the strength we need to try new things and challenge ourselves. It is so hard to remember this, though, since I am someone who admittedly lives for extremes and absolutes, but it’s funny how much I notice the validity of this whole balance thang as my husband and I turn our house into a home. The more sweat-producing chores we tackle and the more I get into routines in my personal life, the better equipped I feel to face unpredictable work weeks or venture into horrifying traffic in unfamiliar parts of our new city. Perhaps our homes, routines and creature comforts are merely a foundation for the bold adventures we’re all destined for as humans, but one thing is certain: both the familiar and the foreign are very necessary parts of a fulfilled life.
One such comfort in my recent world is the smell of paperwhite blossoms that has filled our whole house for the past month (thanks to a little planning and planting back in December). The aroma of these bulb flowers reminds me so vividly of New England winters from my childhood, and — even though I was never a big fan of this plant’s strong smell — I now can’t help loving the scent and the way it makes my home of the present feel connected to the homes and snow days of the past, which are decades and continents away. This simple pleasure is so grounding, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to draw strength from things like it more often as I attempt to strike a balance between the bold and bitty — the black, white, and new…What has been comforting or challenging you lately? Leave a comment.