In the first chapter of Joyful, author Ingrid Fetell Lee focuses on energy, and it couldn't come at a better time for me. For at least two months, I've been feeling as flat as an open bottle of New Year's champagne that gets pushed to the back of the fridge and poured out a week later. But what exactly does it mean to feel energetic? A good night's sleep, a caffeine fix, or a brisk walk all boost my energy, but what affects whether an environment changes my energy in a positive or negative way?
Lee breaks it down into two components: color and light.
If you look at your surroundings right now, I hope you see a burst of color. But if you're American, chances are you might not. We are, Lee writes, chromophobic, or afraid of color. Many of us run-of-the-mill Americans do not grow up in a culture of color. We learn to see bright colors as "childish and frivolous," whereas neutrals come across as "mature" and impart a message of "self-restraint."
This may be true, but I think a lot of us aren't afraid of color as much as we're afraid of using it wrong. I blame HGTV and the like for giving us so many messages of the importance of being on trend. Why would I want to commit to this year's blue when next year, it's going to be saffron yellow or whatever? We need to give ourselves permission to choose what we love, and kindly tell the color gurus at Pantone to kiss off.
The other component to energy is light. A great deal of research backs up the health benefits of sunlight or broad-spectrum artificial light, so I won't go into details here. Suffice it to say that light helps us feel happier, healthier, and smarter. Moreover, light is "color's power supply." When photons of light hit an object, the ones that are reflected back to our retinas are perceived as color. We see short wavelengths as the color blue, long ones as the color red, and so on. According to Lee, this "alchemy" between light and color lies at the heart of the energy aesthetic.
Makes sense, right? Now that I have a better understanding about the importance of color and light, my homework is to implement them in a way that puts the bubbles back in my champagne, so to speak. Because I'm not a big project person, I have just a few small tweaks in mind for my writing space. I hope you'll come back next week to see what that looks like!