Personal White Space
We dropped our daughter off at college last week. And although it wasn’t quite as wrenching as that freshmen-year parting, saying goodbye to your sophomore isn’t all that much easier. Between her piles of furniture in the garage, her eclectic assortment of food cluttering up the fridge, and her “stuff” all over the house, a lot of space has suddenly opened up around here. And there’s also that empty feeling any parent experiences at such times.
I know from experience that it will take a little time to fill that emotional void. But the roomy fridge? The spacious garage? The tidy house? I’m already loving that stuff. They say that nature abhors a vacuum, but sometimes it’s important to push back and hang on to a bit of space.
As designers, we put the power of clean, spacious design to work for clients every day. It hit me that, in our work and in our lives, a lot of us would benefit from that kind of breathing room, a bit of what “Zen Habits” blogger Leo Babauta might refer to as “personal white space.”
“I’m not a designer, but I’ve always been in love with the design concept of white space,” Babauta says. “But white space can be used in the design of our lives as well, not just the design of magazines and websites and ads. By using white space in our lives, we create space, balance, emphasis on what’s important, and a feeling of peace that we cannot achieve with a more cramped life.”
We’re happy to report that our daughter is settling in to her rental (a tiny little place) with her two new roommates. We’ll miss her, but we’re making good use of the space she left behind.
As we search for ways to bring more clarity into our work and our lives, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to, and you probably shouldn’t, fill every space. And anytime our sophomore wants to come home for a visit, no worries, we’ve got plenty of room.