When I first started living in New Haven part-time, I needed a place to work. Working from home just wasn’t sustainable. I tried the cafes, but that got old very quickly and there was no place to take calls.
So I signed up for Regus, but it didn’t really have character, and there was something wrong about being in an empty office in the tallest building in New Haven. Also, it was the most Connecticut place ever: there were three assistants, all named Donna.
So instead, I turned to Yale. I started going to Evans Hall (the School of Management), which had the most amazing libraries with the fastest internet connection and the best facility I could find. Lots of natural sunshine, access to every publication you could imagine, it was perfect. I could spend the entire day reading and I wouldn’t have time to get through all the news publications I could read for free.
But there was one problem: it required a Yale student ID, and I wasn’t a student at Yale. But I kept going back to the SOM library anyways. Sometimes they’d ask for ID and it would suck and I’d have to go someplace else (or home, and the feeling of coming home from “work” at 10am sucks), but often times there was this really nice woman (we’ll call her Donna) working at the entry desk who would smile and let me in and I’d smile back at her.
I decided to get crafty: I bought one of those Yale SOM coffee mugs, and once I started carrying that, I could get in whenever I wanted, no questions asked. People just assumed I had business there since I had a mug. Of course I’d have to dress up a little bit but it felt really good. It was a nice break out of the ordinary. Working remote can be hard, and sometimes small things like dressing up can make you feel good.
A few months later, District opened up and I quickly got an office there, and I haven’t been back ever since. I love my office at District, but sometimes I just want a change of pace and scenery.
But building a home somewhere is really hard.
Well, I went back to Evans today because I’ve been going non-stop to my office for the past 14 days, and needed a change of scenery. Lucky for me, Donna was working at the front desk. She greeted with me with a huge smile and we spoke a little bit about how things are expanding here and how all is well.
As we said goodbye (and this really stood with me), she said, in the most endearing way - “welcome home.” That really stood with me and really made me feel good inside. This place, where I feel like I’ve never been good enough, can be a home.
You can be a resident some place for years and never be at home, or you can be an interloper who just shows up over and over again and eventually wins the right to call it a home. But in the end, you realize the battle has been with yourself all along.