Happy New Year! Am I still allowed to say that? Did everyone have an excellent holiday season? Ours was alternately totally magical (yeah for kids!) and totally sick (which, I won’t bore you with the details, but know there was a time I morosely hobbled over to gaze out a window and thought “I will never be well again and my children will always know me as a shadow of my former self.” I may have also cried. Oh, I do love a good bit of drama.) and totally crazy (which I always say I’m not going to do, but then I get all caught up in the excitement and go overboard).
In the midst of all the madness, I had this very clear realization: Our lives are crazy and it probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. BAM. I know most of you are rolling your eyes, like, “You go, Oprah. Get this girl a show, will ya?” but this was a game changer for me. See, there is a part of me that always thinks “later” is going to be less hectic. When the kids are a bit older, when we don’t have as many visitors, when I finally get the hall closet cleaned out… But, the reality is I have ALWAYS been a busy person because my life feels most full when it’s, well, full. And we like to do stuff, and see people, and live in a really cool place where we have visitors for months out of the year. AND THAT’S AWESOME.
I realized I don’t actually want to change the pace of our lives; instead I want to change the way it feels. Up until last month it was filled to overflowing and not in the good way. Our house was so stuffed opening cupboards was a dangerous game of Knocked in the Head Roulette; my work life was so random that when there was a few minutes to work I just wanted to lay down because I felt so overwhelmed; our family goals, non-existent. Basically, I’ve been operating in the mode of “deal with whatever is directly in front of me and pray I don’t mess up too badly.” The problem with operating this way is when something does come up (out-of-town visitors, sickness, deadlines), the system goes into High Alert and everything shuts down to deal with the latest event. Which makes everything more crowded and we keep on going, gathering more chaos as we truck along.
And, here’s the thing. This has been totally fine! We have two little babies who turned our lives upside-down and I could blame everything on them so we were good. But, they’re getting a little older and my bandwidth for dealing with things was hitting a dangerous threshold so it was time to change.
Weirdly, we came home from the holidays and I just started doing it. No resolutions or to do lists. I just got to it. I went through a bunch of our house and got rid of stuff; I moved the house around so it works better for where we are now in our lives (both kids in one room, which I’ll tell you about later); I took the time to organize my work year so I actually have a plan; I’m working on a family budget; we made a list as a family of things we want to do together over the next couple of months (jump in a pool with our clothes on is the biggie) – basically, I took the time to create some breathing room. I even started going to a running club which has inspired a new level of cursing, but has also reminded me how much I like working out.
And, I feel like a new woman! I’m totally the annoying “after” in the dieting commercial where all I can do is talk about how much better my life feels. Because it genuinely does. Taking the time to finally get organized and clear out the junk has been liberating. Our house feels lovely and has stayed way more clean and clear because there’s actually room for everything. I think the biggest tell though is we have a ton of visitors coming up with trips thrown in the mix, and it’s going to be very full, but rather than worrying about how I’m going to squeeze it all in like I normally do, I’m actually looking forward to it (okay, not the vacuuming and toilet cleaning, but most of it). It’s going to be ridiculously busy, and that’s awesome because I feel like I have a bit of a plan and some space to handle it.
Which brings me back around to the point. I’ve been hemming and hawing about what I want to do for my resolutions – it’s one of my favorite events of the year and has, quite literally, changed my life so there’s some pressure. My fortieth is coming up so I already have an excellent list going of fun stuff to remind me who I am, our family came up with a highly motivating “Life List” outlining adventures we want to partake together, and I’m not going to blow my wad on “lose weight” so a lot of bases are covered. But, these past couple of weeks have given me a window into what it could feel like to have space, maybe even – gasp!- more space than I need at this precise moment, and I’m a greedy little gal and want more.
So is it “create more space” and base my resolution, essentially, around cleaning out the garage? Or “let go” (um, a bit too close to the-song-which-shall-not-be-named)? After turning it around in my brain for the past couple days, I realized it boils down to “do what I know I need to do.” For months I’ve known if I just cleaned out the crap in our house I would feel freer, but I didn’t have the bandwidth (or will) to actually do it. Same with getting us organized and starting to work out. My brain has been screaming at me to find the time to do these things, but, for many reasons, some real and some manufactured, I couldn’t make the move.
The reality is I know in my bones and my heart and my head (and maybe you do too?) the things that are using up my precious energy with their endless nagging, that won’t let me go because I know deep down taking care of them will enhance my life. So, this year I’m going to work on listening to that little voice and doing what it says, even if it’s uncomfortable and requires me to occasionally get off the couch. I’m going to find a way to let go of the baby stuff, write a couple of emails that make me nervous, find the time to blog more regularly, and, yes, clean out the garage (when it’s all written out here it looks pretty lame, which is simultaneously liberating and horrifying). I’m going to work on trusting that if I get out of my own way, there are things around the corner I can’t even envision for myself.
Did you make a resolution this year? What is it? And, how’s it going?
**As I’m writing this, my inner critic is going crazy and saying, “What an embarrassing resolution! Totally impossible! This will never last. You’re going to be sitting on the couch, watching Hello Ladies, only now you can’t even enjoy it because the internet is watching and why don’t you make your resolution “get up early” because then if you fail, at least everyone will understand because who likes to get up early and then you’ll still have friends because you’re probably going to end this year penniless, friendless, and with a really bad dye job?!? You’re going to fail!” I feel like the best reply at this juncture is “Thank you for the concern. Now go suck it.”
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