I had been inside my home for more than 60 days. A few days ago, I walked outside for the first time. I lived in a little suburban area so I was able to walk around without police seizing me at any moment (I maintained proper social distancing measures and wore a face mask so don’t worry).
These past weeks inside our home, I devoured books about creativity and design. I came to a sudden realization that I was not observant as I thought I was. In the book Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley and David Kelley wrote, “Too often, we go through day-to-day life on cruise control, oblivious to huge swaths of our surroundings. To notice friction points- and therefore opportunities to do things better- it helps to see the world with fresh eyes. …. By adapting the eyes of a traveler and a beginner’s mindset, you will notice a lot of details that ypu normally might have overlooked. You put aside assumptions and are fully immersed in the world around you. In this receptive mode, you’re ready to start actively searching out inspiration.”
I decided that I do not want to be on cruise control. By fully activating receptive mode, I was able to notice subtle details that I had never saw before in our neighborhood.
● I noticed that one family used cute little glasses with geometric patterns and painted with bright colors as a plant box. They placed those on the shelves out on their porch.
● Two houses facing towards each other had gardens and they each had already grew a mini-tree that it sprouted towards the road, both forming an half arch that in hindsight, it looked like an arch made by a single tree.
● Our street appears as the least appealing among other streets. Other streets had families with gardens which made the street looked vibrant but if you had walked into our street, you would only see a couple of plants and one tree. But our street is the only one who has a vegetable garden courtesy of my dad. People are going to our house and asking if they could get edible leaves as well as a few vegetables.
● Our street has the flattest concrete pavement. It was easier to walk on because you would not suddenly trip off. #clearerandflatterpavements
● By giving people space outside of their homes, they are able to create a space that was not included in the common spaces that are inside a house. All houses in our area looked the same when people first bought it. Eventually, they renovated, repainted or added rooms in their houses to suit their needs. We all had a 3 meter setback in front of our homes. Some people used it for a livelihood (e.g. opening up a sari-sari store or a computer shop), some used it as a storage area, others used it as a garage, some had used it as a porch, others used it as a laundry area, some leave it unattended, and some extended the front room of their houses towards the end of the lot.
● There is also this one home that had a flower garden and I am so amazed. The people who created this must have really took great care of the garden to be able to grew various species of flowers in such a small space. And there were lots of them. Their home appeared really homey due to the bright colors that the flowers exhibited.
● I discovered a neighbor that makes and sells different kinds of ricecakes!!! AAAHHHH! #supportlocalproducts
Walking had never been this fun. I feel like I was an explorer (Dora ka, ghurl?). I never had the problem of always on a lookout for cars because its early in the morning plus, we are still in quarantine. So I was able to explore fully. Since we had all been given the same type of houses, one could say that exploring might be boring but if you looked around, most of the people here contains clues of what types of people lived inside their houses.
An example is the laundry area. Most people placed their washing machines outside of their houses (on the 3 meter setback). However, in our home, my father designed an area inside our house where the mashing machine can be placed. He made that area a little lower, put an inch barrier around it and placed a water drain in order for the water, that will be coming out of the washing machine, to not overflow into the main floor area. This gives a clue that my father is a designer and an observant one as well.
This post serves as an encouragement for people to walk even just a few meters outside of their homes. No adventure is the same. We just need to have a traveler’s eyes and a beginner’s mind and we can make extraordinary discoveries out of the ordinary things.
Ordinary + Extra Attention = Extraordinary
*Stealed from Austin Kleon