Washougal. This small town continues to grow on me. It is my second fall season that I will pass here. And as I reflect on the passing of this last year, I find myself more connected to this area, increasingly happy that I am here. A friend came out to visit earlier this week. She pointed out how much nature was at the forefront of our surroundings. Every morning I step out of the trailer that Ben and I live in, and immediately I am greeted with the smell of pine, rain, and dirt all gloriously mixed together. It's beautiful. That alone makes it worth it to be a little more out of the way. I work in Clackamas and often I get comments from others that I come into contact with, about how the commute must be rough. And yes, the traffic isn't my favorite, but I am thankful that I can shake off the city when I come home.
When I come home there is separation from work life. Which is kind of an interesting phenomenon in itself. I'm talking about the way that we separate and compartmentalize aspects of our life. Every so often it hits me that the things I go out and experience during my day are things that Ben really knows nothing about. I can tell him stories of my co-workers, the story I heard on NPR, or an embarrassing moment that happened on my way into the office building, but those experiences are really my own. The work culture that I do business in, the clients that I see, the stories that I hear of their experiences, are all things that I alone hold. And of course I am not the only one who experiences this. All of us go out into different communities in our own way, and experience life through our own lenses. And then we come home. There is separation. Or at least, physical separation. This is just one example of how compartmentalization happens in our lives. I think it is easier to use work and home life as an example.
But I think this is a natural coping strategy and I think this mechanism keeps us more intact emotionally, spiritually, physically. There needs to be separation from what we experience on a daily basis, and there needs to be a safe place to come home to at the end of the day. Whether you spend more of your time at home creating that safe space for others, or whether you are out working from dawn to dusk, our environment effects our well being. And I think the tragedy that occurs, is that often there isn't opportunity for good separation from the daily stresses. They come home with us. And home becomes a place that doesn't let us lay down our guard.
So, these are just my observations. I think it is worth considering how our daily environments effect us, and I think it is worth noting whether or not we experience separation from daily stress. I think this raises more questions than answers, and the conversation can get really big, really fast. But I think it has to start with what we notice happening in our own lives and to recognize what is healthy and what is not.