A Whole New World

Well, it’s been years, literally, since I’ve taken the time to write on here with any sort of consistency. My life has changed so much that I actually considered starting a whole new blog instead of picking up this one. But then I realized that this one is me.

Have I changed? Sure. More than just a little.

But so many things are the same. I am surrounded by amazing people who love me and lift me up. Some of those people are the same, my family, my friends, the rock solid relationships that have stood the test of time. That saw me threw divorces, marathon training, and some very questionable decisions. And some of those people are new. New family, new friends, more rocks.

In the past year, I have become a wife and (officially) a stepmom, and a new mommy to my sweet baby Jack. Oh, and then I turned 40! It’s been a whirlwind for sure. I know this time last year, I was parading around Scotland with my fiancee, yet it feels like an eternity ago. Or at least a few years.

I have always written most consistently when exploring a new challenge, something outside of my comfort zone. Specifically here on this blog it’s been marathon training and embracing minimalism (still a work in progress several years later, but more on that in the future.) So I figure this is a good outlet as I explore the challenges and highlights of mommy-hood. Will this blog be all about parenting? Probably not. Life is never just about one thing. So this blog will just be about life. But I think a lot of life is going to be different now that I am a parent. And I do hope to explore more than just parenting in my future, who knows, maybe another marathon?

Anyway, I’m back, for now.

 

New Year’s Reminders!

I posted this for New Year’s Day 2012 and the words are as true today as they were then!  Peace and love!

Breathe. Consciously.  Drink more water. Eat less sugar. Run. Stretch. Remember that Karma is only a bitch if you are. Give more. Want less. Love, love, love. Have fun. Be BRAVE. Cry as necessary, but no more.  Remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Remember that only you can change your fate.  Remember that an eye for eye makes us all blind.  Learn.  Create.  Inspire.  Have a little faith that it will all work out.  Believe in the here and now.  Be present.  Dance more.  Dream more.  Be reckless with your heart, but not other’s.  Own your decisions.  Own your thoughts and stances.  Own your sexuality.  Sleep enough.  Meditate.  Spend more time barefoot in the sand.  Relax.  Take a picture.  or two. Draw.  Paint.  Play.  Embrace life.  Enjoy the journey.  When you fall down, get up.  When the going gets tough, get tougher.  and bring back-up.  Smile.  Remember that bad decisions make good stories.  Try something new…anything.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Don’t just live, thrive.

Merry Christmas

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr. Seuss

Gone, baby, gone.

Ahhhhh…

What a sweet, sweet feeling it is to have so much stuff out of my house! This past weekend, I invited a couple friends over to dig through my pile to see if they found any treasures in my trash. When they left (yes, with a few goodies) the piles of clothes and household items that were taking up massive space in my home were quickly loaded into a borrowed mini van and delivered to Goodwill.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to be making progress.

There are probably words out there somewhere to express what I’m feeling, but they’re escaping me at the moment. To say that a weight has been lifted, is a massive understatement. However, a friend I have recently visited said this to me, about herself, when I started talking about my move towards minimalism.

“I am burdened by my possessions.”

So simply stated and yet so true, the only way to express how I feel right now is to say that I am unburdened. Or at least becoming unburdened. And while I still have many possessions at this point, still an entire house full, for just myself if I’m being honest, I continue daily to downsize, donate and give away that which I do not require. I am coming to terms with the fact that not only were my possessions not making me happy, they were in fact burdening me in such a subtle way that I honestly didn’t even realize it.

It feels good to be making progress, and I recognize that I am also quickly approaching what feels like mile 20 in a marathon. There may be a wall up ahead. All of the little things, the easy things are gone. I am anticipating challenges up ahead. However, I am a firm believer that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  So here I go.

The Universe Plays Games

In a quest to move towards a more minimalist lifestyle, I’ve recently started focusing on practicing detachment from material things. They are, after all, just things.

So when I went on vacation and returned to find that I had somehow lost my favorite dress, I had some new issues to deal with. Our group on the trip was large, eight of us total, but only one other girl. So I called her and asked if she had accidentally grabbed my dress, she had not. I called the hotel, they didn’t have it either. Damn. I realized that I had to come to terms with the fact that it was gone. Normally, this would have been quite upsetting. However, as I was trying to practice detachment, I reminded myself that it was just a dress, just a piece of fabric and it had no real significance to me.

I let go.  I detached.  I moved on. 

And as soon as I had done so…I got a text from one of the guys on the trip. He had gone back to check the hotel room one more time, saw the dress, grabbed it and forget to tell me about it. I got my dress back yet held on to the lesson in detachment.

Well played Universe, well played.

Minimizing

Well…since I don’t write as often as I would like I usually go back and read my last post before submitting another. In doing this I realize that I haven’t come very far from my last post. or maybe I’ve made leaps and bounds. Hard to say.

My point is that I still want to sell the house and buy an Airstream. or more likely a VW bus, because frankly, I don’t want to try to back an Airstream trailer into a campsite. Ever.

And what this led me to is a new pursuit of minimalist lifestyle. Now honestly, who knows how far I’ll take this, but it’s been enlightening in a lot of ways, so I thought I’d share. The truth is, when this process started, about a month ago, it had nothing to do with becoming a minimalist. I just came home one day and felt really…cluttered. Now you should know that I am a pretty organized person. Everything has a place and I’m generally quite good at getting everything back to it’s place. But on the other hand, I live alone in a three bedroom house and nearly every option for storage was full of …something.

I started with drawers and cabinets and just general de-cluttering. This was the easy part. I had a lot of stuff I wasn’t using. Identifying those items was quite simple. Some of them were easy to throw into a “donate” box. I apparently collect a lot of “shwag” which is a fancy word for free shit people give away. I also like to support whichever event I’m attending which usually means another t-shirt purchase.  For the records, I almost never wear t-shirts and when I do, I’m quite picky about cut and fit.  Which brought me to my first step in this process.

1. Stop the Bleeding.  I mean seriously, WTF? As I was tossing these hardly, if ever, used items into the donate box, I mentally tallied up how much money I’d spent on them. Thankfully, many of the items which were purchased went to support a good cause.  That helped me cringe a bit less. Regardless, I realized in that moment that I needed to stop bringing this stuff into my life if I was ever going to get away from it. So new plan… no more free schwag, no more event t-shirts (if I want to donate to the cause, I can always do so by simply donating) and a temporary freeze on all purchases until I figure out what I truly need. I will confess, this is still a new resolution and one that will probably be challenging for me.  I just bought 4 books.

Ok, so that was the easy part. Getting rid of t-shirts I never wear, mugs I never use and at least half of my coozie collectoin was a pretty simple process.  Honestly, how many coozies does one person need?  I threw it all in the donate box and it FELT SO GOOD. I started to look around the house. What else did I have that I wasn’t using? Were there hidden items taking up space (physical and mental, I’ve come to realize) that I could purge? As I opened cabinets and trunks and closets, I started to find item after item and collection after collection that I wasn’t using. So many things that were just taking up space. I pulled them out of the cabinets. And then I put them back. I couldn’t get rid of them, they had sentimental value. Two items (which were actually several items because they were both sets) in particular come to mind. First was a stunning espresso set from Greece, hand made and painted with gold leaf, it was a gift from my aunt. The second, was a sushi serving set from Japan that was a gift from an old friend of the family. I looked at these items for quite some time when I realized that I needed to change something. Which led me to step two.

2. Practicing Detachment. This is a difficult and necessary step. I’ve been reading blog after blog about simplifying and becoming a minimalist and what it means and how to do it and so on and so on. And this discussion of our sentimental attachment to material things is widespread and addressed on nearly every article on the subject. What it really comes down to is … it’s just STUFF. It really doesn’t matter. Getting rid of items for which we have a sentimental attachment changes nothing about the actual sentiment. If the house burned to the ground tomorrow with all those items in it, I would still have the fond memories of the people who gave me those gifts. Now I will confess that this is definitely easier said than done.  I have given the espresso set away to friends, a couple who has a coffee addiction beyond any I’ve ever seen and will put the set to good use, or on display. Knowing it was going to a place where it would be appreciated, instead of tucked away in a cabinet like it was at my house, made detaching from it much easier. Maybe that means I haven’t actually detached from it.  I’m not sure, sounds like a question for a yoga teacher.  Regardless it’s no longer cluttering up my life.

Side note…I have an unhealthy attachment to books, I’m working on it. It may require therapy.

So, I’m sure your assumption at this point is that I’ve made drastic improvements in minimizing my life. I mean, how much stuff can I possibly be emotionally attached to (books aside) and how much space could it possibly take up? Well, let me introduce you to the third and most difficult (so far) step.

3. Removing “Just in Case” Items. This is actually proving to be a bigger challenge for me than practicing detachment was. As it turns out, I have an astronomical amount of “Just in Case” items.  I have a very pretty black dress, “just in case” there is a funeral or a wedding and I need to wear it (by the way, I did not wear that black dress the last time I attended a funeral or a wedding.) I have lots of extra sheets and blankets “just in case” … I don’t even know why… in case something happens to the several blankets I use on a regular basis and I need extras? I have a plethora of cooking and baking items, “just in case” I need to, I don’t know, bake a couple dozen cupcakes randomly (if you don’t know me personally, I can assure you that is NEVER going to happen, the last thing I used my oven for was to heat up pizza.) Oh and of course, I have books.  Lots and lots of books.  “Just in case” someone stops by and is randomly looking for a book to read… “just in case” I ever want to read it again… “just in case” I ever get the urge to finish reading the books that I started, but couldn’t quite get in to.

So here I am.  With a large basket of books in the car to trade in at the book center. Not nearly all of my books have left the premises, but I’d say about half have found new homes (or will once I get over to the book center.) I still have a fully furnished 3 bedroom home.  I still have an enormous amount of paring down to do.  Clothes, glasses (I own an obscene amount of drinking glasses), handbags, jewelry… the list goes on and on.  But each time I remove an item and, address the underlying feelings connected to it, I feel lighter.

I do not know if I will ever be a “true” minimalist, even by my own definition of what I believe a minimalist is. But as I remove the clutter from my home and consequently, my mind, I do feel that I’m moving towards a more peaceful existence. And that feels wonderful.useful and beautiful

Being Passive Aggressive

So there you have it… the last post I made was ridiculously passive aggressive. A quality that I despise in others and loathe when it comes from myself. Generally, I pride myself on being “aggressive aggressive” as I like to put it.  You want fuck with me? Let’s go. But there are those rare situations when my emotions get the best of me, my brain apparently shuts down and dumb ass shit comes out of my mouth.  or in this case, off of my fingertips.

So what did I do?  I avoided my blog.  ‘Cause every time I opened it up to start to type, I was slapped in the face with my own bad decision. And at a time in my life when I really need to be writing because so much is overwhelming, I avoided the blog AGAIN because of what I put up there. So I guess this is sort of a confessional.  My way of moving past an indiscretion.

So hopefully… more later.