friday’s “secret”: intend to remove things

One thing that I have discovered about myself over the last few years on my journey to “comfortable being”, is that I absolutely dislike, maybe even hate, spending an exorbitant amount of time taking care of inanimate objects. I don’t want to spend hours cleaning my house – thus, my home is only 1400 square feet. I don’t have a lot of knick-knacks on my shelves because I do not want to to dust them. I cut my hair because I disliked spending hours doing it every week. I personally believe that “the more possessions you own, the more your possessions own you.” There so many other things I’d rather be doing that would make me so much happier.

So, 2016 is the year that I commit to my version of a minimal lifestyle: if it is not useful, beautiful, or loved, it’s out of here! Thus, one of my Intentions for 2016 is to “remove anything from my life that is not useful, beautiful, or loved.” And I am focusing on my stuff during these weary dreary winter months and into the traditional time of spring cleaning.

People generally describe me as a “neat” person; I would describe myself as “neat-ish”. Mommy ingrained in me the habit of making my bed every day (Thanks, Mom!) and I generally put most things away by the end of the day. But I know where the bodies are buried: the desk top that covers the mail and receipts that I haven’t dealt with in a week or more; the closet full of boxes that contain papers that need to be sorted, filed, or trashed; the clothes in the closet that I can’t fit into any more, or can I? All of this weighs on my all ready busy mind. As William James has so famously stated: “Nothing [is] so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an incomplete task.”

Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpLast year, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō, a Japanese organizing consultant and author. I have read a number of organization books and articles in the past and have even done wardrobe and closet consultations in another life – pre-Buddy Man. What appealed to me specifically about Kondō’s book was her claim that using her method, the KonMari method of tidying, none of her clients have ever reverted back to their untidy selves. “Yeah, right” was my immediate reaction. I have organized before, many times in fact, but have always discovered that I have to do it again within a few months. This year, I am committed to doing it her way and seeing what happens. I plan on sharing my journey with you; you guys will keep me accountable!

Marie’s first step, before you throw anything out, is to visualize and describe the life that you want to have and what you want to feel in your home. Well, as I stated before, I don’t want to spend time dealing with my stuff; I want to spend my time being a good mom to the Buddy Man, cooking wonderful meals, reading, writing, and running. I want my home to be a source of nourishment for me and my family; a place to rest and to prepare for our lives outside of the house. I want to feel tranquil in my home, everything having a place and everything in its place and my knowing where that place is would be awesome as well!

Over the next few months, I will share my process, my observations, my successes, and my setbacks. So, let’s begin.

Has anyone read the book? Have you tried her methods or any methods to stay organized? Tell me about it.

enjoy life…

friday’s “secret”: set a few intentions and achieve them

Beach Sunrise. My Intentions

This week, I have been reviewing my intentions and highlights from 2015. I hesitate to call anything a goal because I have failed to achieve my goals year after year after year. So I started referring to them most often as “intentions” in 2015 and have had a greater success with that small change. It feels easier to me; less intimidating.

I am happy to say that I was able to accomplish quite a few of my intentions for 2015, my main one being becoming more comfortable with this whole “mommy” thing. Jessica Quirk of What I Wore expresses my sentiments along this line so well in this post: Post Partum Identity Crises. It was a real thing for me last year but I think I might be beginning to see a way clear.

Here are my Intentions for 2016

  • Run 6 races, including the Bridgestreet Half Marathon in April. In order to do this, I am going to have to be in the best shape possible so those foundation habits of eating, sleeping (or trying to with a baby), staying hydrated, and training are going to have to be on point.
  • Read 36 books, one more book more than I read last year. I believe I can do it, if I do not gorge on television and it’s various iterations: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the oh-so-convenient network apps. It is so easy to fall down those rabbit holes, isn’t it?
  • Which brings me to my next intention, staying out of rabbit holes that do nothing for me. I really want to be intentional about my entertainment choices and only watch things that I find enjoyable and/or useful. I am really looking forward to the encore presentation of BBC, PBS, and Masterpiece’s Special, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride this weekend. I missed the January 1st premier.
  • Write more, which will include posting to the blog weekly. Oh boy! You guys are going to have to hold me to this one. LOL!
  • Remove anything from my life that is not useful, beautiful, or loved. I start with my wardrobe next week and will work my way around the home through these dull winter months. I probably won’t have anything to wear! Eeeek!
  • Give a “durn”! Being a mom, it is super easy to fall into the “oh, why bother” mindset. Buddy Man is just going to mess it up anyway! But I feel so much better when I care. So, more often than not, I want to be put together rather than thrown together. I also think I want to color my new short cut. We will have to see about that though!
  • And finally, being a stay-at-home mom has kind of taken a toll on me, socially. I am very thankful for my family and friends who have kept me sane with their phone calls, opening up their homes, and visits. I want more of those experiences! I want to feel more connected to people, even through digital mediums, this year! For an introvert, that’s saying something!

What are your intentions or goals this year?

friday’s “secret”: to be happy, you gotta step outside of your comfort zone, again

Logo. Galaxy of Lights 5KThis week, I did something that was truly terrifying for me. I ran the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Galaxy of Lights 5K race alone; in the dark.

The Galaxy of Lights is a holiday extravaganza of lights displays throughout the Garden during the holiday season. Displays include the 12 Days of Christmas, and my personal favorite, the Icicle Forest which takes my breath away every time. The displays are sponsored by local companies and community members and installed, repaired, and maintained throughout the year by NASA engineers, electricians, and volunteers. After Thanksgiving, Galaxy Driving Nights allow you to experience the displays in the warmth of your vehicles. The 5K and 3K Holiday Dash allows you to experience it up close and personal.

I had made plans to run with a friend. Being alone in large crowds terrifies me. Unfortunately this friend hurt her ankle and couldn’t do it with me. I spent the day scrambling trying to find someone else to go with me. On top of that, it was raining cats and dogs throughout the entire day and I told myself that the was suppose to be a fun race and running, in the rain, alone, in the dark, was not going to be fun.

Around 3:30 PM, the rain let up enough for me to consider doing it. But I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. I flip-flop back and forth between going and not going for about an hour and ultimately decided to go. I had all ready arranged for my mother-in-law to keep the Buddy Man later with Hubby picking him up after work and I rationalized that I would ultimately regret it if I did not.

I got there at 5:00 and hour and a half before race time. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I wanted to make sure I had close parking and that I was able to pick up my race packet in time to pin on my number and use the restrooms which had lines throughout the night. It had stopped raining and I wandered around the exhibits looking for someone to talk to. Overwhelmed, I gave up and went to my car and the tears formed. Why was I doing this? I began to feel guilty about not being there for the first time to put my baby to sleep. I was lonely. This wasn’t fun.

I found a book and read by the light of a flashlight until close to race time. Once, we were off, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The lights were beautiful and every time I run, I feel awesome!

I felt so proud of myself. I did something else that I was afraid to do. And I don’t have to look back and wish that I had had the courage to do what I really wanted to do. I did high-tail it out of there as soon as the race was over, though. And what do you know, but it started pouring again!

How about you? Ever done something you were afraid to do?

enjoy life…