The Tortoise

For as long a I can remember, I’ve been known in my family as ‘impatient.’ Please know it’s not people my impatience is about. You are safe- stay along for the ride and hear me out. I take time to slow down for people- to listen, to care, to smile. I love hearing stories – I love soaking in what you have to say, why you behave the way you do, what you love and hate. I find people insanely interesting. In fact, my kids laugh that I love to go to our local Kroger because I love to engage with some real characters who work there. People fascinate me.

My impatience is more a pace in which I move. It’s about getting things done, not wasting time on insignificant details, moving forward. I’m in a rush—a lot. I’ve got a lot to do in a short time- 16 hours of awake time–and I need to keep trucking.

We get one life- why go full throttle and miss the ride?

At 44, I’m starting to think I may have it all wrong. Why the rush? Think about it. We get one life- why go full throttle and miss the ride?
It may be that I’m getting wiser, it may be that my husband who values time differently than I has taught me something. At the beginning of our relationship, he and I had two different paces in which we embraced life. Think the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise used to drive me up a wall. Stop and read a book in the middle of the day? Crazy. Train for an ultra marathon and ‘waste’ 4 hours running? Nuts. I’ve found that with each year of my life I get a better understanding and appreciation for slowing down for in slowing down I feel and see things I was whizzing by—LIFE. Now I sort of like that slow moving creature. Besides, that tortoise wins in the story. And I think my husband thinks rabbits aren’t so bad either. If you look at any given day in our lives now, you will see that the tortoise and the hare have both been replaced with something more like a squirrel.

Besides, that tortoise wins in the story.

You may ask, what does patience have to do with interior design? A lot. I find that when I’m hired to do a job, a client will often want the entire room installed overnight. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. And what is my response? “Patience”. Did I just tell someone else to be patient?What I’ve found over the years is that your home is a work in progress. There is a layering that happens over time. The story unfolds. The framework doesn’t take long to put into place, but the details can take some time. Sure, anyone can grab a catalogue and order everything in the picture, have it shipped the next day, unpack it, set it up and then feel like it’s not unique to you- it’s not your story. Finding unique items that mean something to you, that you find while you are on a trip somewhere fun or exotic, is what makes your home unlike anyone else’s. As a designer hired to help you make your home feel put together, it is my job to give you resources, to give you ideas, to help you get started and sometimes take you all the way to the end. And we may practice patience together until that final item has been placed in the room and we can sit back and see ‘complete’. We will enjoy the ride together and we will love what we see both along the ride and at the end.

There is a layering that happens over time. The story unfolds.

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Elin Walters

principal designer . owner

ann arbor . michigan

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