I love details and making plans. Need someone to organise a whole trip? I’m your person! Before we were hit by this pandemic, I considered myself a one-man agency. From flight and hotel bookings, to itineraries, to every single detail one could think of, I’d gladly lay out everything for you. There’s this intense feeling of comfort and reassurance that I get from knowing. And while I understand that the future is not promised, at least I get to picture things in my head and that makes me happy.
The abrupt changes that happened because of the pandemic led us all to cope in ways we know. We cannot expect the things that worked for us to work similarly to others. It took some time to figure things out and have that sense of self again. As it turned out, it was renovating my room that helped a lot with my anxiety.
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The coping mechanism
The emergence of COVID-19 affected every facet of our lives. And as for me, it took away the stability that I knew. Suddenly, planning became pointless and it felt like my life was no longer mine. My days were marked by inconsistent guidelines, taking chances, and hoping that each supply run to the grocery store wouldn’t make me sick.
Eventually, I found hobbies and things that helped me cope. I collected a bunch of random stuff, from teacups, to trinkets, to bags and more; until it got out of hand, taking me back to square one. I lived in a bubble, constantly believing and convincing myself that each purchase would equate to happiness. It went on for a year — then one day, something shook me. I remember sitting in the middle of my room, staring at my things as they stared back at me. It was an intervention.
Facing the room which I shared with my siblings years ago, I was confronted with different emotions. The nostalgia brought about by the faded yellow paint on the wall, the fun that came with raiding the broken-down closets that housed clothes that are no longer worn, and the disgust from the overwhelming sight of a huge four-tier industrial rack that stored all of my impulsive purchases.
Something had to be done; and fortunately, it wasn’t too late. It’s never too late. Committing to renovating my room once I had that awakening wasn’t too hard. I was consistent and ready for change.
Renovating my room
With every item I tossed, kept, gave away, and sold, I felt that I was finally back in control. Decluttering has been the toughest and yet the most fulfilling part of this change. Unable to count the times I played tug of war with myself, I still wonder how I did it.
My budget for this room renovation is limited. To save money, I chose to do almost everything on my own with the help of my boyfriend. I painted the walls white, finally saying goodbye to the fading colour from an era that had long been over. Installing the peel-and-stick vinyl tiles was harder than I imagined.
“At least I’ll have a nicer floor for my breakdowns,” I joked to myself; but I know pretty well that it was partly true. I also had a loft bed built to maximise the space.
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There are imperfect details in this room, but I don’t get bothered by them anymore: the noticeable uneven edges of the vinyl tiles on the corners and those tiny specks of brown paint from the ceiling that dripped onto the white walls. Looking back, that’s one lesson I never expected to learn from renovating my room — it’s okay to mess up.
Renovating my room and keeping my mind occupied with this project greatly benefited my mental health. It had me look forward to possibilities and what’s next. When I got rid of the unnecessary things, I became more mindful and understood the grace in letting things go. I never took a “before” photo of my room because I was embarrassed by the mess. I should’ve taken one, though. Not to show off, but to remind me that transformations are always within reach. All you have to do is try.