I remember reading Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own, an assigned reading for a course I was taking at the University of Washington. I know it is a classic feminist text. I know that she was part of the Bloomsbury Group, a collection of intellectuals active in the early 20th century. I know that she wore pants at times. I know that she was played by Nicole Kidman in the excellent film adaptation of the book, The Hours, and that she died by suicide.

But frankly, when I read A Room of One’s Own, I missed a lot. I remember her paragraphs being reaaaaaaally long. I would find that I had decoded the words on two or three pages only to realize that I’d comprehended very little and was lost in this book long essay. I’d flip back through the book, begin reading again, and write notes in the margin, a critical thing for me to do when my mind wanders in reading.

But I did get her main message. She wrote about the importance of having time and space to write, something that most women not only did not have but were discouraged from having. A room of one’s own. A room to think and write and be. I also got that “a room of one’s own” has a figurative as well as literal meaning. We need a separate space and time for individuality. We need an identity apart from our relationships with others. As women, we need a relationship with ourselves that is apart from wife or mother. There may be ‘no “I” in team’ but there is an ‘I’ in “being” and all of us, male or female are beings.

As you know, I recently moved my private practice. One of the differences is that the current space has three offices instead of the previous two. That means all three of us, Jennie, Julie, and myself have an office to ourselves.

I have also mentioned that the rent for the new office space is nearly three times what the old office space was. Granted, the old office space was really inexpensive. But this is an increase that is easily noticed, especially since I hold the lease and it it the full rent that is automatically drawn from my bank account every month.

There is also the fact that although I work five days per week, I only see patients on three days per week. In the past, I have only had access to my office space for those three days. Now I have access every day of the week, whether I see patients or not.

There is an allure to subletting my office to another psychologist. This would reduce my monthly rent. At this point, however, I am strongly opposed to this. I have been reminded again and again during the last few years about how little control I have over my own life. I made what I thought was a beautiful workspace for my past office and I didn’t mind sharing it. But we lost it due to our lease not being renewed. I have now created another workspace and it, in my eyes, is lively but restful. And I want it to myself. I want to be able to go there any time I want to do report writing, pick up the mail, or just know I could go there anytime. I want to be able to get there in the morning and know that the room is exactly as I left it the night before. This is not because I am a control freak. It is just nice to know that this very thing is possible. It is also nice to know that if my life goes sideways again that I will have the flexibility to schedule patients on different days of the week. I will not be boxed into three days.

Yes, it is expensive but it is worth it at this point of time. I want my own time and my own space.

My money or my mind.

Before: The waiting room. This is how the waiting room looked the month before we started painting.

Before: The waiting room. This is how the waiting room looked the month before we started painting. The woman in the photo is my friend, Jennie.

Before: My office when it was used as a lab. This is the first glimpse I got of the space before we signed the lease.

Before: My office when it was used as a lab. This is the first glimpse I got of the space before we signed the lease.

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After: The waiting room.

The hallway to my office. I loved the wall stickers!

The hallway to my office. I loved the wall stickers!

Make yourself comfortable. This is the sitting area for interviewing, psychotherapy, and explaining test results.

Make yourself comfortable. This is the sitting area for interviewing, psychotherapy, and explaining test results.

Testing area.

Testing area. The wooden piece is front of my desk is a folding desk. I unfold it to combine with my larger desk top to make large enough surface for my testing materials.

I made a removable cover for the air conditioner because it was ugly. I bought the owl clock because it was handy and adorable.

I made a removable cover for the air conditioner because it was ugly. I bought the owl clock because it was handy and adorable.

The chicken and tree decals were inspired by the feeling of boredom I felt when I sat in the chairs across from the door of my office.

The purchase of the chicken and tree decals was inspired by the feeling of boredom I felt when I sat in the chairs across from the door of my office.