Deep thinking about simple ideas

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Transitions enable change. Does that mean that a month in a hotel could jump-start my new life?

We are out of our condo for at least three weeks owing to water damage from above. Note to any potential thieves, all (ALL!) our possessions have been moved off-site for the reno. We packed up kitchen, bathroom, clothes, office & toys, planning for a month out. In fact, owing to husband’s work schedule, I did most of the packing. And then, when we had to switch rooms two days into our stay because they were fully booked, I did most of the repacking. And the unpacking. And a good chunk of the re-packing to move us into our third and final room. Nothing like packing up your stuff three times in a week to sell one on the value of minimalism.

As the restoration company assessed our place for the move-out, the two people said several times, “Yep, lots of stuff in here!” “Yes, lots of things to move out!” I’ve never thought that we had that much, aside from an obvious surplus of books, so their comments really made me look around. It’s not excessive, I still don’t think, but it’s enough. It’s enough that, as I’ve noticed recently, far too much of my time is spent cleaning and maintaining. Enough that we need to keep on top of it or the mess can overwhelm my delicate spirit.

I had hoped that a streamlined life in a hotel would enable us to spend a peaceful month away. That is still theoretically possible. However, spending multiple intense sessions peeling & slicing apples for the food dehydrator while ignoring my daughter were not part of the plan. Hours spent cooking too much food as I attempt to use up vegetables before they go bad: also not intended. And running up and down three flights of stairs to move things around and watch my daughter is not the simplified existence I imagined.

Might I be my own worst enemy?

Is it possible that a simpler, more satisfying life is attainable if I want it?

Could such a life involve fewer and shorter to do lists?

Could I let instinct, not cell phone beeps, alert me to attend to important tasks?

Could I simply buy less – less food, fewer books, not as many craft supplies or clothes – so I have less to deal with?

Could I put first things first and, at a cleared off table over a simple meal, connect with my daughter and spend our first period of time together in the morning talking, learning and building our relationship? And let that lead us through our day?

Right now, these all seem possible. The only barrier is myself. I tried to reduce my to do list today. I removed one item. There is a library book sale tomorrow, and I quite want to go. And even as I envision a streamlined existence in our condo, I am not sure what I actually am willing to part with to make it happen. Just as one example, can I give up one of the beautiful table cloths I have, the ones we use never? There’s the embroidered green one, that beautiful middle green past spring. The red and pink flowered one. Several thick, beautiful cotton white ones with embroidery. Not to mention, the two table cloths from Russia with embroidered designs from the Cheboksarakh region. The only one we use is a functional, washable brown one, so that one will stay … with the others.

Oi. Change truly starts with me, should I so choose.

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3 responses »

  1. I am gonna take this tip right here and run with it: “Could I put first things first and, at a cleared off table over a simple meal, connect with my daughter and spend our first period of time together in the morning talking, learning and building our relationship? And let that lead us through our day?” This was just the thing I needed to read. (Not getting how you have too much stuff….seems like you cull and organize very frequently?) Thank you Thank you Thank you – always a treat to read these.

  2. I hear you about connecting – I’ve been inspired in that direction by being around great moms, by this change in schedule, and by a book that you’d love: Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford. All about this – highly recommend, tho I’m just on the first chapter now.
    As for stuff: I do get rid of it, and then I have lists of things I “need”, and spend too much time in second hand stores. Basically, I know I have too much because it takes too much time to manage. Yet the actual choice to give up something beautiful is kind of hard.
    Big hug to you!!

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