Improving Appearance, Improving Space

Anna Burgess Yang
2 min readAug 29, 2020
Photo by Sanibell BV on Unsplash

Today is Independent Bookstore day. In Beforetimes, I would probably make a trip to a local bookstore and come home with all sorts of treasures. As it stands, I still avoid most indoor locations.

On Instagram, I saw the following from a “Bookstagrammer”: Turn to page 50 of your current read. The first sentence describes your future.

I grabbed The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which was released back in May but I am an incredibly slow reader when I am anxious. My bookmark opened to my current page, which happened to be page 50 (how’s that for crazy coincidence?) The first full sentence is:

She always seemed to be improving her appearance.

At first, I quickly brushed it off. Like taking an online quiz or reading a horoscope and thinking “That couldn’t be further from me.” In particular Since Pandemic, I pay almost no attention to my appearance. My clothes are a steady rotation of tshirts and sweatpants, and I haven’t had a haircut since February. I had a friend over last night for a socially distanced chit-chat in my backyard and before her arrival, my husband said “You’re going to shower, right?”

But then I thought about the line in another way. Once we got past the first 8 weeks or so of lockdown and some restrictions were eased, our house had taken on some improvements over the past few months.

For example, we did a massive round of musical furniture preparing for a school year of remote learning, creating a “classroom” in our basement. Other furniture has been used as well, trying to make the best use out of our rooms as we live in them today. Guest room? Not seeing a lot of guests. Living room? Turned into a makeshift day care for the toddler.

We’re fixing a window that has damaged wood, and sealed a crack in the wall of our basement. We’re going to have a paver walkway put into our backyard. I have a stained rug that is 11 years old (pre-dates my oldest child) that is finally going to be replaced. A lamp with a shade that has been dented by a kid’s fist is starting to bother me.

Maybe it is because we now spend so much time here that little things have started to bother me. Maybe it is redirecting money that we usually spend on outings or travel — now instead invested in our home. Or maybe since I feel so out of control in what is happening in the world, I am trying to control what I can: which is the space contained within these walls. Anything to make me feel better.

Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •